Benjamin Sheff

Re-evaluating Claims of Discovery in Data from the ATOMKI 5 MV Van De Graaf Accelerator
Physics, Math
Spring 2017

Using the electron-positron pair spectrometer at the 5 MV Van de Graaf Accelerator at the Institute for Nuclear Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (ATOMKI), Krasznahorkay et al. recently announced data not fitting the Standard Model of particle physics. They claim a 6.8 sigma excess in internal pair creation at high relative angles for the particle pair released in the isoscalar transition, indicative of a particle of mass circa 16.7 MeV. A hypothetical gauge boson, a carrier of a fifth force, has been proposed as an explanation for the excess. In this study, we seek a more mundane explanation through the addition additional nonresonant decay amplitudes, such as alpha decay of 8Be*. To this end, we will construct a simulation of the accelerator experiment, and test Standard Model processes to see if the excess can be fit without the need for new particles or forces.