PRISMA Professorship for Experimental Hadron and Particle Physics

In October 2014 Niklaus Berger was appointed professor for experimental hadron and particle physics at the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA, Department of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Sciences of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. His fields of research span from precision tests of the standard model of elementary particle physics to meson spectroscopy with an emphasis on the development of new detector, readout and analysis technologies.

The new working group is heavily involved in the design and construction of the P2 experiment which will be the first experiment at the new MESA accelerator in Mainz. P2 will measure the weak mixing angle at small momentum transfer with unprecedented precision and thus provide a test of the standard model complementary to other activities in PRISMA, e.g. at the LHC. The main contribution to P2 will be a pixellated tracking detector made from silicon sensors thinner than a human hair. This HV-MAPS (high-voltage monolithic active pixel sensor) detector technology was originally developed for the Mu3e experiment, another core activity of the group.

Mu3e searches for the lepton flavour violating decay of a muon to three electrons using the muon beams at PSI in Switzerland. The group is designing and building the Tbit/s data acquisition system for the experiment and developing track reconstruction algorithms.

The third focus of the group is spectroscopy at the BES III experiment in Beijing. Data of electron-positron collisions will be analysed in order to understand hadrons, the bound states of quarks. The partial wave analysis tools required are developed in close collaboration with other groups at the institute of nuclear physics.

Niklaus Berger, born in 1978 in Switzerland, studied physics at ETH Zürich and performed his dissertation at the H1 experiment at DESY in Hamburg, where he developed trigger electronics and studied diffractive electron-proton scattering. After a postdoctoral research stay at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Beijing, he led a junior research group working on Mu3e at the university of Heidelberg.

Scientific career


Appointment W3 Professor for experimental hadron and particle physics, Cluster of Excellence PRISMA, Department of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
Research at MESA (P2), BES III and Mu3e

since 2012

Head of Emmy Noether Young Investigator Group (DFG) for Mu3e

2011 - 2014

Postdoctoral researcher at the Physikalisches Institut, Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg,  working on the Mu3e experiment

2007 - 2011

Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF fellowship for prospective researchers) and CAS (research fellowship for international young researchers), working on the BES III experiment


Postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zürich

2002 - 2007

Doctoral thesis, ETH Zürich, working at the H1 experiment at DESY, Hamburg


Diploma, ETH Zürich, thesis work performed at DESY Hamburg

1998 - 2002

Study of Physics at ETH Zürich

Main teaching and research topics

  • Precision tests of the standard model
  • Muon physics
  • Meson spectroscopy and partial wave analysis
  • Tracking detectors and tracking algorithms
  • FPGA based readout electronics 


Multiple Coulomb Scattering in Thin Silicon
N. Berger et al.
JINST 9, CP07007 (2014)  

A Tracker for the Mu3e Experiment based on High-Voltage Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors
N. Berger et al.
Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A 732, 61 (2013)   

High-voltage pixel detectors in commercial CMOS technologies for ATLAS,  CLIC and Mu3e experiments
I. Peric et al.
Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A 731, 131 (2013)  

Precision measurement of the branching fractions J/ψ →π+ π- π0 and ψ' →π+ π- π0
BES III Collaboration (M. Ablikim et al.)
Phys.Lett. B710, 594 (2012)  

Study of a0(980)-f0(980) mixing
BES III Collaboration (M. Ablikim et al.)
Phys.Rev. D83, 032003 (2011)  

Trigger efficiencies at BES III
N. Berger et al.
Chinese Physics C 34(12), 1779 (2010)

Design and Construction of the BESIII Detector
BES III Collaboration (M. Ablikim et al.)
Nucl.Instrum.Meth. A 614, 345 (2010)

Branching fraction measurements of χc0 and χc2 to π0π0 and ηη
BES III Collaboration (M. Ablikim et al.)
Phys.Rev. D81, 052005 (2010)

Measurement and QCD analysis of the diffractive deep-inelastic scattering cross-section at HERA
H1 Collaboration (A. Aktas et al.)
Eur.Phys.J. C48, 715 (2006)    

Research Proposal for an Experiment to search for the decay μ→eee
A. Blondel et al.
Research proposal to PSI, available from