Prof D G Charlton FRS

Position:Poynting Professor of Physics
Room:West 216
Profile:University staff profile


Dave Charlton works on the ATLAS experiment at the CERN LHC. After returning to Birmingham in mid-2017 following four years as ATLAS Spokesperson and ten years based primarily at CERN, Dave nowadays is working a bit on the SCT, a bit on L1Calo, and is restarting analysis activities on tests of the electroweak theory, including multi-boson production.


Dave's current undergraduate teaching:

  • Year-2 tutorials
  • Year-3 Particle Physics lecture course
  • Year-4 projects
Currently he supervises two PhD students, and is on the look-out for more.


Dave works on the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. ATLAS is one of the two general-purpose detectors at the proton-proton collider, LHC (Large Hadron Collider). It started operating in 2009, and made its first major discovery - a Higgs boson - in 2012. The second multi-year run ("Run-2") of the LHC started in 2015, at a collision energy of 13 TeV, much higher than in the first data-taking period ("Run-1"). It is planned to finish Run-2 at the end of 2018, to be followed by a two-year shutdown ("LS-2") when parts of ATLAS will be upgraded ("Phase-I" upgrades). Run-3 (2021-2023) and beyond will be at 14 TeV collision energy. A second, large, round of upgrades ("Phase-II") are being designed and constructed for 2024-2026, after which the LHC will run for another decade with much higher luminosities ("HL-LHC").

On ATLAS, the Birmingham group worked on four aspects of the original experimental preparation: the first-level calorimeter trigger (L1Calo), the semiconductor tracker (SCT), software and physics preparations. Dave worked mainly on the SCT during barrel module production and preparations for production (2001-2004). From 2004 to 2007 Dave worked mainly on the trigger. Now, Dave is working with the L1Calo team, and looking towards the Phase-II upgrade.

During SCT barrel module production, the team worked on the readout circuitry (hybrids), in close collaboration with KEK in Japan, who supplied the flex circuits for the hybrids, and the Rutherford Lab where the hybrids were combined with silicon detectors and other passive components to produce the individual modules which will make up the SCT. In Birmingham the group assembled the hybrids and tested them, and also tested some of the completed modules from RAL. The module testing work was shared with Cambridge and Queen Mary, London.

The Birmingham ATLAS team works on a range of physics analysis, including the study of the Higgs boson, searches for new phenomena, and measurements of Standard Model processes. Dave works on multiboson production processes, with students and colleagues.

Previously Dave worked for many years on the OPAL experiment. OPAL was one of the four detectors at the large e+e- collider LEP. It ran from 1989 to 2000, and data analysis has been essentially complete for some time. On OPAL, Dave's interests lay in measurements in the electroweak sector, during LEP-2 particularly of the self-interactions of the W and Z particles - the so-called triple and quartic gauge couplings (TGC and QGC). These are a fundamental prediction of the Standard Model of particle physics, and the LEP experiments measured some of them directly for the first time. The measurement of TGCs that Dave developed and made employed events with pairs of W bosons, where both W bosons decayed to leptons. The QGC measurement on the other hand used events with two final-state photons, and missing energy signalling the presence of neutrinos.

Dave was supported in his research by the Royal Society as a University Research Fellow between 1994 and 2002. He participated in the Royal Society "Scientists and Parliament" scheme in 2002. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014, awarded the Institute of Physics Richard Glazebrook medal and prize in 2017, and appointed Poynting Professor of Physics in 2017.

Further contact information

Contact details at CERN: Office 40-4C-20, phone +41-22-767-6422.


University staff profile
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