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Dr. Brian Beckford

Assistant Professor/Presidential Fellow
Department of Physics, University of Michigan

January 17th, 3:30 PM

Thirkield Hall (Physics), room 103


The search for rare kaon decay with the KOTO detector

The goal of research in high-energy physics is to understand how our universe works at the most fundamental level. One of the questions still unanswered is why is there more matter than anti-matter? The Standard Model of physics proposes a reason for the imbalance and research into rare decays can provide insight into this mechanism.

The K0TO experiment conducted at J-PARC was designed to observe the K->πνν decay and measure its branching ratio. The current SM prediction for the branching ratio is 3.0 x 10-11 with a small theoretical uncertainty of about 2-3%. Studying this rare “golden” decay in quark flavor physics is an ideal candidate to search for physics beyond the standard model. The established experimental upper limit of the branching ratio was set by the KEK E391a collaboration at 2.6 x 10-8. This is still well above the SM value of the branching ratio. The signal of importance is the pair of photons from the π0 decay and no coincident signals from veto counters. KOTO utilizes a Cesium Iodide (CsI) electromagnetic calorimeter as the main photon detector in combination with hermetic veto counters to ensure that there are no other detected particles. This talk will cover a description of the improvements to the detector

In this talk, I will cover a description of the improvements to the detector, current status of the analysis, and future prospects.


Dr. Brian Beckford earned his BS and MS at FIU and later his PhD at Tohoku University in nuclear physics. Currently, Brian is an assistant professor/president's fellow at the University of Michigan as part of the KOTO experiment. The KOTO experiment, conducted at the J-PARC facility in Tokai Japan, is designed to measure the rare CP violating decay of a neutral long-lived kaon into a neutral pion and a neutrino anti-neutrino pair and provide a deeper understanding about why we live in a matter dominated universe. His research interests are strangeness nuclear physics, rare decays, physics beyond the standard model, and instrumentation. 


Refreshments will be served at 3:30pm