New long-lived particle searches in heavy-ion collisions at the LHC


We show that heavy-ion collisions at the LHC provide a promising environment to search for signatures with displaced vertices in well-motivated new physics scenarios. Compared to proton collisions, they offer several advantages: (i) the number of parton level interactions per collision is larger, (ii) there is no pileup, (iii) the lower instantaneous luminosity compared to proton collisions allows one to operate the LHC experiments with very loose triggers, and (iv) there are new production mechanisms that are absent in proton collisions We focus on the third point and show that the modification of the triggers alone can increase the number of observable events by orders of magnitude if the long-lived particles are predominantly produced with low transverse momentum. Our results show that collisions of ions lighter than lead are well motivated from the viewpoint of searches for new physics. We illustrate this for the example of heavy neutrinos in the Neutrino Minimal Standard Model

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