Seeking for sterile neutrinos with displaced leptons at the LHC

Jia Liu, Zhen Liu, Lian Tao Wang, Xiao Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the signal of long-lived sterile neutrino at the LHC produced through the decay of the W boson. It decays into charged lepton and jets. The characteristic signature is a hard prompt lepton and a lepton from the displaced decay of the sterile neutrino, which leads to a bundle of displaced tracks with large transverse impact parameter. Different from other studies, we neither reconstruct the displaced vertex nor place requirement on its invariant mass to maintain sensitivity for low sterile neutrino masses. Instead, we focus on the displaced track from the lepton. A difficulty for low mass sterile neutrino study is that the displaced lepton is usually non-isolated. Therefore, leptons from heavy flavor quark is the major source of background. We closely follow a search for displaced electron plus muon search at CMS and study their control regions, which is related to our signal regions, in great detail to develop a robust estimation of the background for our signals. After further optimization on the signal limiting the number of jets, low HT and large lepton displacement d0 to suppress SM background, we reach an exclusion sensitivity of about 10−8 (10−5) for the mixing angle square at 10 (2) GeV sterile neutrino mass respectively. The strategy we propose can cover the light sterile masses complimentary to beam dump and forward detector experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number159
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

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Funding Information:
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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© 2019, The Author(s).


  • Beyond Standard Model
  • Neutrino Physics


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