The NA62 experiment

Birmingham group: M B Brunetti, Dr V Duk, Dr F Gonnella, Dr E Goudzovski, L Iacobuzio, Prof C Lazzeroni, Dr N Lurkin, Dr D Munday, Dr C Parkinson, Dr A Romano, Dr A Sergi, R Staley, A Sturgess, J Swallow

NA62 is a precision experiment at CERN dedicated to stringent tests of the Standard Model and precision searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model description via studies of rare and forbidden decays of the charged kaon. It uses a high intensity 75 GeV/c secondary hadron beam provided by the CERN SPS accelerator, and is located in the ECN3 hall in the North Area of CERN.

The first NA62 run is taking place in 2015–2018. The goal is to collect information about 1013 charged kaon (K+) decays in the decay region contained in a 80 meter long vacuum tank. The second run is foreseen for 2021–2023.

The central goal of the experiment is the measurement of the ultra-rare decay K+→π+νν, with the expected SM branching ratio below 10−10. The SM contribution to the decay rate comes from penguin and box diagrams. Its dominant part is due to top quark exchange, which leads to the highest CKM suppression. The SM decay rate has been computed with 10% relative precision. This decay is an ideal place to search for new physics: its low and precisely predicted branching ratio means that any physics can potentially give sizable deviations detectable by the NA62 experiment.

The wider NA62 physics programme includes precision searches for lepton flavour and number violation in kaon decays (this aspect is led by the Birmingham group), searches for production and decays of the possible hidden-sector mediators (dark scalars, dark photons and heavy neutral leptons), lepton universality tests and studies of rare decays of kaons and pions.

The Birmingham group is one of the largest in the collaboration, and is involved in:
  • maintenence and operation of the KTAG Cherenkov detector tagging the incoming kaons;
  • development and operation of the L0 (firmware) and L1 (software) trigger systems;
  • development and support of the run control system;
  • development and support of the core software;
  • a wide range of physics analyses, including searches for lepton flavour and lepton number violating kaon decays, searches for heavy neutral lepton production and decays, and rare kaon and pion decay measurements.

We also play a leading role in the analyses of the existing data sets collected by earlier kaon experiments at CERN (NA48/2 and NA62-RK).

For general information about NA62, see:

NA62 detector construction (2012)

The KTAG subdetector built by the UK groups

General view of the NA62 detector