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Physik-Institut Group of Nicola Serra

Nicola  Serra

Nicola Serra, Prof. Dr.

  • Professor
+41 44 63 55725
UZH Y36-J-84

Research interests

I am Professor at the University of Zurich and group leader of the flavour physics experimental group at UZH, working on LHCb,  SHiP and Mu3e. 

My selected list of publications can be found here (PDF, 118 KB)

I received my PhD from the University of Cagliari with a thesis on rare decays of B-mesons at LHCb. From 2009 to 2013 I was postdoc at NIKHEF (The Netherlands) and at the University of Zurich, mostly based at CERN in Geneva.  I have was awarded an SNS Professorship in July 2013 and an SNF Starting Grant in March 2015. Since 2018 I am Associate Professor and Group Leader of the Flavour Physics Experimental group at UZH. My group is involved in both hardware and analysis projects.

The LHCb Experiment

Since 2013 a number of deviations with respect to Standard Model predictions have emerged in B-meson decays (flavour anomalies). These anomalies are observed in rare and semi-leptonic B-decays.

We have measured the first rare decay anomaly in 2013 at the LHCb experiment and since then, my group is focusing on establishing if these anomalies are a genuine sign of physics beyond the Standard Model. 

The rare decays anomalies are discussed here, while the semileptonic anomalies are discussed here

Some of my papers about the anomalies:

  1. arXiv:1308.1707 
  2. arXiv:1512.04442
  3. arXiv:1403.8044
  4. arXiv:1610.08761
  5. arXiv:1805.06378
  6. arXiv:1805.06401
  7. arXiv:1808.08865
  8. arXiv:/2001.04470
  9. arXiv:2007.12605
  10. arXi:2103.11769
  11. arXiv:2104.05631

For an non technical overview of the flavour anomalies you can watch this short documentary by Barbara Gallavoti. The full playlist can be found here.

Recently a test of lepton flavour universality in rare decays reached the significance of 3.1 standard deviations, the had ample echo in mainstream media. We were part of the small analysis team that made this measurement, in collaboration with UK researchers. Some of the articles on this measurement (including some of my interviews) can be found here:

  1. Tage-Anzeiger
  3. NZZ
  4. Swiss Info 
  5. BBC
  6. The Guardian

The SHiP Experiment

I was one of the initiators and Physics Coordinator of the SHiP experiment, which is under review of the CERN scientific committee. The experiment consists of about 250 physicists from 16 countries and 45 research institutes and universities. The main goal of the experiment is the search for Sterile Neutrinos and other Hidden Particles from a hypothetical secluded sector.  

Some of my papers on SHiP and Sterile Neutrinos:

  1. arXiv:1310.1762
  2. arXiv:1504.04956
  3. arXiv:1411.5230

The Mu3e Experiment

Recently my group joined the Mu3e Experiment at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI). The experiment will search for the Standard Model forbidden decay μ→3e. The group is working on the Mechanical Integration of the Fiber Tracker Detector, Track Reconstruction and Physics Analysis.