Themes Papers Talks Hardware Analysis


My research focuses on foundational tests of the Standard Model including the Higgs boson and electromagnetic dipoles, searches for new particles such as dark matter, and probes of astroparticle physics. In ATLAS, I pioneer novel photon collider measurements, develop synergies with cosmic-ray science, and construct the next-generation silicon tracker in the Cambridge cleanroom. I also proposed the BREAD experiment to detect axion dark matter using emerging quantum technologies.

SUSY Dark Matter

Weak scale dark matter

A startling realisation of physics is that 80% of the matter in our Universe is missing. Strategies for discovering this dark matter at the Large Hadron Collider are a focal point of my research. My PhD identified promising scenarios of dark matter involving spin-half partners of the Higgs boson (Higgsino) and charged leptons (sleptons). I then established new ATLAS searches resulting in world-leading sensitivity, and created the canonical Higgsino and slepton summary plots widely shown at international conferences.

Silicon detectors

ATLAS and silicon detectors

New instruments drive progress in physics. I lead construction of silicon modules for the flagship ATLAS Inner Tracker (ITk) upgrade. I qualified the Cambridge cleanroom for mass production before leading module quality control and the interposer solution. I also led performance studies for the ATLAS Forward Proton (AFP) silicon pixels critical to its first physics results. My PhD studied radiation damage of the ATLAS silicon tracker (SCT) and real-time algorithms to select dark matter signals (L1 Topo trigger).

Photon collision

Colliding light at the LHC

I am at the forefront of a novel LHC program transforming it into a photon collider. I spearheaded the first measurement of proton scattering using the AFP detector when light collides into leptons, opening a new class of dark matter searches. I also invented how to measure the tau-lepton magnetic moment (called g−2) using heavy-ion data, which ATLAS and CMS realized in pioneering results. My recent paper reveals higher precision is possible by expanding this novel tau-lepton dipole program to standard LHC proton data.

Axion dark photon

Axions and dark photons

Sub-eV mass dark matter such as axions can modify Maxwell's equations and create photons we detect in the lab. Detecting the rare predicted signals pushes quantum sensing technology into uncharted territory. With US collaborators, I proposed a new experiment called BREAD to directly detect milli-eV mass dark photons and axions with first science results from the GigaBREAD pilot experiment. For this project, I constructed a Fourier transform spectrometer at Chicago to test terahertz and infrared optics.

Higgs self-coupling

The origin of mass

The Higgs boson discovery opens novel experimental probes of electroweak symmetry breaking and new interactions. I led Higgs pair simulations to project Higgs self-interaction measurements using decays into four bottom quarks at the HL-LHC upgrade. This study deploys modern machine learning methods to improve signal sensitivity. This cornerstone program at the HL-LHC aims to reveal how particles acquired mass in the early Universe.

Tau pairs Feynman diagram

Theoretical physics

My particle phenomenology interests sit at the lively interface connecting experiment and theory. My key contributions are simulation proposal studies for novel measurements and searches establishing new directions in collider physics, and even new dark matter experiments. I have also interpreted LHC searches in richer scenarios beyond minimal models, and enjoyed pre-PhD projects on continuous-spin particles and jet pileup mitigation.

Multi-muon cosmic ray event

Cosmic ray science

Cosmic rays are the highest energy particles we see on Earth, but their origins remain enigmatic. Above peta-electron-volts, their measurement requires air showers, which ATLAS can observe as striking multi-muon bundles. I proposed creative astroparticle physics initiatives using ATLAS cosmic-ray data. I also convene the ATLAS SM Soft QCD and LPCC Forward Physics groups studying strong force physics underpinning hadronic models for cosmic-ray air showers.



Strategy to measure tau g−2 via photon fusion in LHC proton beams
Lydia Beresford, Savannah Clawson and Jesse Liu

Broadband Solenoidal Haloscope for Terahertz Axion Detection
Jesse Liu, Kristin Dona, Gabe Hoshino, Stefan Knirck, Noah Kurinsky, Matthew Malaker, David W. Miller, Andrew Sonnenschein, Mohamed H. Awida, Peter S. Barry, Karl K. Berggren, Daniel Bowring, Gianpaolo Carosi, Clarence Chang, Aaron Chou, Rakshya Khatiwada, Samantha Lewis, Juliang Li, Sae Woo Nam, Omid Noroozian and Tony X. Zhou
Phys. Rev. Lett. 128 (2022) 131801, arXiv:2111.12103
On The Cover and PRL Editors' Suggestion
UChicago News Release,
GigaBREAD first science results: Knirck, et. al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 132 (2024) 131004

Higgs self-coupling measurements using deep learning in the bb̅bb̅ final state
Jacob Amacker, William Balunas, Lydia Beresford, Daniela Bortoletto, James Frost, Cigdem Issever, Jesse Liu, James McKee, Alessandro Micheli, Santiago Paredes Saenz, Michael Spannowsky and Beojan Stanislaus
JHEP 12 (2020) 115, arXiv:2004.04240

New physics and tau g−2 using LHC heavy ion collisions
Lydia Beresford and Jesse Liu
Phys. Rev. D 102 (2020) 113008, arXiv:1908.05180
ParticleBites feature

Search Strategy for Sleptons and Dark Matter using the LHC as a Photon Collider
Lydia Beresford and Jesse Liu
Phys. Rev. Lett. 123 (2019) 141801, arXiv:1811.06465

Analysing parameter space correlations of recent 13 TeV gluino and squark searches in the pMSSM
Alan Barr and Jesse Liu
Eur. Phys. J. C 77 (2017) 202, arXiv:1608.05379

First interpretation of 13 TeV supersymmetry searches in the pMSSM
Alan Barr and Jesse Liu
Oxford physics highlight


Observation of the 𝜸𝜸 → 𝝉𝝉 Process in Pb+Pb Collisions and Constraints on the 𝝉-lepton Anomalous Magnetic Moment with the ATLAS Detector
ATLAS Collaboration (JL Editor)
Phys. Rev. Lett. 131 (2023) 151802, arXiv:2204.13478, STDM-2019-19
PRL Editors' Suggestion, ATLAS Physics Briefing
The Conversation feature
Follows Beresford and JL's proposal: Phys. Rev. D 102 (2020) 113008

Observation and Measurement of Forward Proton Scattering in Association with Lepton Pairs Produced via the Photon Fusion Mechanism at ATLAS
ATLAS Collaboration (JL Editor and Lead Analyzer)
Phys. Rev. Lett. 125 (2020) 261801, arXiv:2009.14537, STDM-2018-16
ATLAS Physics Briefing, ATLAS ICHEP highlights
CERN Courier feature, Press Release

Search for electroweak production of supersymmetric states in scenarios with compressed mass spectra at √s = 13 TeV with the ATLAS detector
ATLAS Collaboration (JL Editor and Lead Analyzer)
Phys. Rev. D 97 (2018) 052010, arXiv:1712.08119, SUSY-2016-25
ATLAS Physics Briefing on Higgsinos, Briefing on sleptons
CERN Courier feature, Oxford physics highlight
Full Run 2 followup: Phys. Rev. D.101 (2020) 052005


Design and performance of a multi-terahertz Fourier transform spectrometer for axion dark matter experiments
Kristin Dona, Jesse Liu, Noah Kurinsky, David Miller, Pete Barry, Clarence Chang and Andrew Sonnenschein
JINST 17 (2022) P06014, arXiv:2104.07157

In situ radiation damage studies of optoelectronics in the ATLAS SemiConductor Tracker
Ian Dawson, Bruce Gallop, Jesse Liu, Peter Miyagawa, Peter Phillips, Gavin Pownall, Dave Robinson and Anthony Weidberg
JINST 14 (2019) P07014
Preliminary results: SCT-2018-003, SCT-2017-003, SCT-2016-002


Discovery strategies for dark matter and Higgsinos at the LHC
Jesse Liu
CERN-THESIS-2019-088, Oxford Research Archive

I am author on all papers signed 'ATLAS Collaboration' since 2017.
Listed here are public references with leading or major personal contributions.
Particle physics convention lists authors alphabetically.

Find a full list of my papers at inspire:


ICHEP 2018, Seoul
ICHEP 2018, Seoul
Dalitz Seminar, Oxford
Dalitz Seminar, Oxford
LHC Reinterpretation Workshop, CERN
Reinterpretation Workshop, CERN

Invited Seminars

University of Cambridge, UK, Cavendish HEP Seminar, 7 May 2024
New York University, USA, Experimental Particle Physics Seminar, 5 Mar 2024
University of California, Irvine, USA, Particle Physics Seminar, 20 Feb 2024

Sorbonne Université, France, LPTHE Phenomenology Seminar, 3 Oct 2023
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, France, ICAP Seminar, 22 Jun 2023
University of Sydney, Australia, CPPC Seminar, 4 May 2023
Johns Hopkins University, USA, Experimental Particle Physics Seminar, 5 Apr 2023
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, LNS Colloquium, 27 Feb 2023
Brown University, USA, High Energy Experiment Seminar, 15 Feb 2023
University of Edinburgh, UK, Experimental Particle Physics Seminar, 27 Jan 2023

University of Bristol, UK, Particle Physics Seminar, 7 Dec 2022
University of Liverpool, UK, HEP Seminar, 16 Nov 2022
Imperial College London, UK, HEP Seminar, 15 June 2022
University of Warwick, UK, Particle Physics Seminar, 9 June 2022
Cornell University, USA, LEPP Journal Club Seminar, 6 May 2022
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Canada, Particle Physics Seminar, 3 May 2022
Case Western Reserve University, USA, Particle/Astrophysics Seminar, 1 March 2022

University of Cambridge, UK, Cavendish HEP Seminar, 30 Nov 2021
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA, HEP Seminar, 8 Sep 2021

Cornell University, USA, LEPP Journal Club Seminar, 30 Oct 2020
Stony Brook University, USA, Particle Physics Seminar, 19 Oct 2020
University of Pittsburgh, USA, PITT PACC Seminar, 5 Aug 2020
SLAC, Stanford University, USA, Elementary Particle Physics Theory Seminar, 12 Feb 2020

Fermilab, USA, Cosmic Physics Center Chalk Talk, 14 Nov 2019
Fermilab, USA, LHC Physics Center Physics Forum, 31 Oct 2019
University of Cambridge, UK, Cavendish HEP Seminar, 19 Feb 2019

LBNL, University of California, Berkeley, USA, Research Progress Meeting Seminar, 20 Nov 2018
SLAC, Stanford University, USA , Joint Theory–Experiment Seminar, 20 Apr 2018
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Canada, BSM Seminar, 17 Apr 2018
University of California, Santa Cruz, USA, SCIPP Seminar, 10 Apr 2018

University of Oxford, UK, Dalitz Seminar in Fundamental Physics, 19 Jan 2017
University of Cambridge, UK, Joint DAMTP–Cavendish Seminar, 13 Jan 2017

Conference & Workshop Presentations

Cavendish HEP Extravaganza, Cambridge, UK, 6 Dec 2023
'ATLAS Inner Tracker upgrade cleanroom highlights'

CADEx Collaboration Meeting, Spain, Online, 16 Nov 2023
EPS HEP 2023, Hamburg, Germany, 24 Aug 2023
'BREAD: Broadband Reflector Experiment for Axion Detection'

BREAD Collaboration Meeting, Chicago, USA, 5 Oct 2023
'Primer: Sensitivity of Dish Antennas - Why we need more'

Dark Matter beyond the Weak Scale, Liverpool, UK, 28 Mar 2023
'Terahertz axion detection with BREAD'

Photon-induced Processes, Durham, UK, 3 Nov 2022
'Forward physics and colliding light at the HL-LHC'

Dark Matter UK, London, UK, 22 Sep 2022
ICHEP 2022, Bologna, Italy, 8 Jul 2022
'BREAD: Broadband Reflector Experiment for Axion Detection'

IoP Joint APP HEPP Conference 2022, Harwell, UK, 5 Apr 2022
'Colliding light, tau g-2, and axion detectors'

Snowmass CF2 Wavelike Dark Matter Meeting, Online, 8 Oct 2021
'BREAD: Broadband Reflector Experiment for Axion Detection'

APS DPF Meeting, Florida State, Online, 14 Jul 2021
'Colliding light: photon fusion production at ATLAS'

Phenomenology Symposium, Pittsburgh, Online, 25 May 2021
'New spin 0 physics from TeV to THz'

APS April Meeting, Online, 20 Apr 2021
'Turning Light Into Matter: First Physics Results Using ATLAS Forward Proton'

DIS 2021, Stony Brook, USA, Online, 14 Apr 2021
'Measurements of diffractive physics and soft QCD at ATLAS'

LHC Forward Physics Meeting, CERN, Online, 4 Mar 2021
'Exclusive dilepton production in ATLAS'

Workshop on Forward Physics and QCD with LHC, EIC and Cosmic Rays, Jefferson Lab, Online, 23 Jan 2021
'ATLAS Forward Proton'

Snowmass EF09 meeting, Online, 4 Sep 2020
'Colliding light to search for BSM phenomena'

ICHEP 2020, Online, 31 Jul 2020
'Colliding light to make dark matter at the LHC'
ICHEP 2020, Online, 30 Jul 2020
'The Alignment of the ATLAS Forward Proton Detector'

Snowmass Energy Frontier "Open questions and new ideas", Online, 8 Jul 2020
'Dark matter and tau g-2 using the LHC as a photon collider'

Higgs Couplings 2019, Oxford, UK, 2 Oct 2019
'Colliding light to measure tau g–2'

Young Experimentalists and Theorists Institute, Durham, UK, 8 Jan 2019
LHC Forward Physics Workshop, CERN, Switzerland, 18 Dec 2018
'Photon collider opportunities for new physics: SUSY and dark matter'

SUSY 2018, Barcelona, Spain, 23 Jul 2018
'Reconstruction techniques in ATLAS SUSY searches'

ICHEP 2018, Seoul, South Korea, 6 Jul 2018
ICHEP Prize Talk, 11 Jul 2018
'Innovative strategies in compressed electroweak SUSY searches'

DM@LHC 2018, Heidelberg, Germany, 5 Apr 2018
Institute of Physics Conference 2018, Bristol, UK, 27 Mar 2018
Young Theorists Forum 2018, Durham, UK, 10 Jan 2018
'Opening the soft lepton frontier for new physics at the LHC'

Young Theorists Forum 2017, Durham, UK, 11 Jan 2017
2nd LHC BSM Reinterpretation Workshop, CERN, Switzerland, 14 Dec 2016
'Parameter space correlations of 13 TeV SUSY searches'

BUSSTEPP 2016, Manchester, UK, 31 Aug 2016
1st LHC BSM Reinterpretation Workshop, CERN, Switzerland, 17 Jun 2016
'Phenomenological interpretations of strong SUSY searches'

Collaboration Plenaries

ATLAS Week, Thessaloniki, Greece, 20 Jun 2024
'Inner Tracker Strips upgrade'

ATLAS ITk Strips HV Breakdown Task Force, 12 Apr 2024
'Interposer module quality control results at Cambridge'

ATLAS ITk Strips Module Meeting, 14 May 2024
ATLAS ITk Strips HV Breakdown Task Force, 16 Feb 2024
ATLAS ITk Strips HV Breakdown Task Force, 28 Jul 2023
ATLAS ITk Strips Module Meeting, Online, 18 Jul 2023
'HV breakdown behaviour vs thermal cycling temperature'

ATLAS Standard Model Workshop, Prague, Czechia, 12 Sep 2023
ATLAS UK Meeting, Manchester, UK, 9 Jan 2023
'Cosmic ray science in ATLAS'

ATLAS SUSY Workshop, CERN, Switzerland, 19 Sep 2022
'Photon fusion'

ATLAS ITk WP12 Meeting, Birmingham, 31 Mar 2022
'Towards production: procedures and reporting'

ATLAS Upgrade Physics, Online, 22 Apr 2021

ATLAS SM Group Plenary, Online, 15 Apr 2021
'Cosmic ray physics at ATLAS'

ATLAS Run 4 Roman Pot Meeting, Online, 26 Mar 2021
'AFP at HL-LHC: Physics and experimental overview'

ATLAS Idea Day, Online, 20 Jan 2021
'Cosmic ray physics at ATLAS'

ATLAS Roman Pot General Meeting, Online, 7 Oct 2020
'Lessons learned from dilepton AFP analysis'

ATLAS SM Jamboree, Online, 30 Sep 2020
'Summary of ATLAS Roman Pot exploitation opportunities'

ATLAS SM Group Plenary, Online, 2 Jul 2020
'Exclusive dilepton production with AFP'

ATLAS Week Plenary, Online, 24 Jun 2020
'Photon fusion production with and without ATLAS Forward Proton'

ATLAS Roman Pot General Meeting, CERN, Switzerland, 23 Jan 2020
'Exclusive dilepton production with proton tag'

ATLAS UK Exotics SUSY Meeting, Cambridge, UK, 11 Apr 2019
'Photon collider SUSY/DM searches with forward proton detectors'

ATLAS SUSY Group Plenary, CERN, Switzerland, 19 Jul 2018
'Physics highlights at recent international conferences'

ATLAS Exotics Workshop, Rome, Italy, 29 May 2018
'Opening the monojet + soft lepton frontier for dark matter' (poster)

ATLAS Week Plenary, CERN, Switzerland, 21 Feb 2018
'Latest SUSY results'

ATLAS Analysis Open Presentation, CERN, Switzerland, 1 Nov 2017
'Search for Higgsinos and compressed sleptons'

ATLAS Joint Exotics-SUSY Workshop, Bucharest, Romania, 12 May 2017
'Phenomenological studies of ATLAS SUSY searches'

ATLAS UK Meeting, University of Liverpool, UK, 5 Jan 2017
'New innovative ideas and analyses in supersymmetry'

ATLAS Week Plenary, CERN, Switzerland, 17 Oct 2016
'Semiconductor tracker: status report'


Silicon detectors, ATLAS Inner Tracker (ITk) strips upgrade, tabletop spectrometer

For the ATLAS ITk upgrade, I lead silicon strips module assembly and quality control, qualifying the Cambridge cleanroom for a production goal of over 1000 modules. I have wide-ranging laboratory expertise in module assembly, metrology, wire bonding, electrical testing, and thermal cycling quality control. At Chicago, I designed and constructed a tabletop terahertz-infrared spectrometer, managing operations and data acquisition, to characterize calibration optics for axion detector R&D.

Testing hybrids
Wirebond testing
Hybrid preparation / Photo: B. Hommels
Module testing
Wirebond testing
Wirebond testing / Photo: W. Fawcett
Glueing / Photo: B. Hommels
Mallet / Photo: K. Dona

Photon collider science

Energy frontier tests of QED, turning light into (dark) matter

ATLAS 2L AFP correlation

Observation and measurement of forward proton scattering in association with lepton pairs produced via the photon fusion mechanism at ATLAS

ATLAS Collaboration
arXiv:2009.14537, Phys. Rev. Lett. 125 (2020) 261801

I co-led a small team to produce this landmark result announced at ICHEP 2020. It is the first physics analysis using the ATLAS Forward Proton (AFP) spectrometer, a new class of LHC instrument installed in 2017 at ATLAS. For me, this result is exciting because not only is it a new analysis, it's also not every day in ATLAS you get a new kind of detector to understand and play with. It's a real treat for experimentalists! The physics itself is sublime: we're seeing light turning into matter and antimatter. This result observes the scattered intact protons when light turns into dielectron or dimuons. We also understand the detector reconstruction to a level that allows us to perform the first cross-section measurements using AFP. With so many novelties in one analysis, this opens up an exciting new programme at the LHC to use proton-tagging for measurements and searches.

New physics and tau g−2 using LHC heavy ion collisions

Lydia Beresford and Jesse Liu
arXiv:1908.05180, Phys. Rev. D 102 (2020) 113008
Lepton magnetic moments

The muon g–2 has a longstanding 3.7 sigma tension with prediction and new physics interpretations such as supersymmetry have been widely studied. With a larger mass, the tau g–2 can be much more sensitive to new physics but is rarely discussed. The strongest constraints come from LEP, which is an order of magnitude away from the central value and even the sign remains elusive. Interestingly, photon collisions using heavy ions could open new advances, given the exceptionally clean environment and huge photon flux. The key to our proposal is introducing the strategy amenable for ATLAS or CMS to implement using data already collected at the LHC.

Photon collider search strategy for sleptons and dark matter at the LHC

Lydia Beresford and Jesse Liu
arXiv:1811.06465, Phys. Rev. Lett. 123 (2019) 141801
Slepton sensitivity with photon collider

When LHC beams cross, photons from the proton electromagnetic fields can collide to make new particles. The protons remain intact, travel down the beampipe, and are detected by very forward detectors. This allows us to reconstruct initital state information and the full missing momentum 4-vector — impossible in usual head-on collisions. My collaborator and I exploit these unique features to propose a search strategy that uncovers the blind spot where the slepton is 15 to 60 GeV heavier than the dark matter. Remarkably, this is the region favoured by non-collider data from cosmology and muon magnetic moment measurements.

Supersymmetry and dark matter

Higgsinos, compressed sleptons, beyond simplified models

ATLAS SUSY EWSummary higgsino

Search for electroweak production of supersymmetric states in scenarios with compressed mass spectra at √s = 13 TeV with the ATLAS detector

ATLAS Collaboration
arXiv:1712.08119, Phys. Rev. D 97 (2018) 052010

I had the privilege of collaborating with an excellent international analysis team for this project. This work presents the first hadron collider sensitivity to some of the most challenging but sought-after scenarios of natural supersymmetry and dark matter involving so-called compressed mass spectra, namely Higgsinos and compressed sleptons. We probed these using the two leptons and missing transverse momentum final state, which were striking blind spots before Run 2 of the LHC. Soft lepton reconstruction down to 4 GeV — among the lowest used by the ATLAS Experiment — was crucial in opening world-leading sensitivity that surpasses nearly two-decade old LEP limits. I led important validation studies during the transition to new reconstruction and simulation software for the improved analysis that uses 4 times as much data collected in the full LHC Run 2 [arXiv:1911.12606]. I also produced the first Higgsino dark matter and slepton-bino SUSY summary plots [ATL-PHYS-PUB-2019-022], which are regularly presented at conferences.

Analysing parameter space correlations of recent 13 TeV gluino and squark searches in the pMSSM

Alan Barr and Jesse Liu
arXiv:1608.05379, Eur. Phys. J. C (2017) 77: 202
Dark matter LHC and direct detection

LHC supersymmetry searches are designed around simplified models. These capture the key experimental kinematic (e.g. jet energies) and structural (e.g. number of electrons) features in a collision. But beyond this model-independent characterisation of signatures, they are toy models for interpretation. If our universe were supersymmetric, how do the sensitivity of these searches map onto realistic scenarios? This is the LHC interpretation challenge, and addressing this is the purpose of our paper.

First interpretation of 13 TeV supersymmetry searches in the pMSSM

Alan Barr and Jesse Liu
Squarks and gluinos early 13 TeV

This is the first interpretation of six early 13 TeV ATLAS searches for supersymmetry within the 19-parameter 'phenomenological MSSM' theoretical framework. This work was referenced by several speakers at major summer conferences, and used by the SUSY-AI Online effort.