Dr Philip Ilten

Dr Philip Ilten

School of Physics and Astronomy
Birmingham Fellow
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Philip Ilten is a Birmingham Fellow and a member of the Birmingham Particle Physics group. His current research is focused on understanding the emergent properties of quantum chromodynamics and looking for possible connections between hidden dark sectors and ordinary matter.

In 2017, Phil began as the simulation convener for the LHCb collaboration and convener of the Higgs working group for the HL-LHC. From 2015 to 2017, Phil convened the soft QCD, electroweak, exotica, and heavy ions (QEE) physics working group within LHCb, building the non B-physics programme of LHCb.

Phil is particularly interested in combining experiment and theory into phenomenology. He is an author of the Pythia 8 event generation software, the creator of the Darkcast recasting package, and a developer for the HepMC 3 event record.


  • Birmingham Fellow, 2017
  • PhD in experimental high energy physics from University College Dublin, 2013
  • Diplom in Physics from Goettingen University, 2009
  • BS in physics with a minor in music from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008
  • BS in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008


Phil began his journey down the rabbit hole of particle physics during the second year of his undergraduate degree at MIT.  Here he performed undergraduate research as a CERN summer student, working on HLT monitoring and tau lepton identification with the CMS experiment.

During the summer of 2008 he worked as a software engineer at the IBM high performance computing centre in Dublin, Ireland before beginning his Diplom at Goettingen University. In 2009 he moved back to Dublin, Ireland and began a PhD at University College Dublin.

During his PhD, Phil spent half a year in Lund Sweden, working on the phenomenology of tau decays and spin correlations in particle decays. After finishing his PhD on tau leptons and the Higgs boson in 2013, Phil moved back to Boston, spending the following four years as a post-doctoral research at MIT before joining the Birmingham faculty.


  • Y4 project supervision
  • Y3 computing laboratory
  • Y2 project laboratory

Postgraduate supervision

Phil supervises PhD students researching particle physics with the LHCb experiment on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.


  • Production of heavy flavour quarkonia in the context of jet production.
  • Probing fundamental QCD splittings using jet substructure and heavy flavour tagging.
  • Phenomenology and searches for dark photons/new physics at low masses.
  • Precision QCD measurements using electroweak bosons.
  • Forward top quark and Higgs production.
  • Phenomenology of tau lepton decays.

Other activities

  • Advisory committee for international conferences, 2017 -
  • Convener of the HL-LHC Higgs working group, 2017 -
  • Convener of the LHCb simulation group 2017 -
  • External thesis examiner, 2017 -
  • Reviewer for international journals, 2014 -
  • Organizer/convener for international conferences, 2013 -
  • Convener of the LHCb QEE working group 2015 - 2017
  • Coordinator for LHCb Monte Carlo generators, 2013 - 2017
  • Convener of the LHCb Electroweak and Top sub-working group, 2014


All 450+ published papers for Philip Ilten can be found at: https://inspirehep.net/author/profile/P.Ilten.1

A brief selection is given below.

P. Ilten et al., “Mapping the material in the LHCb vertex locator using secondary hadronic interactions,” arXiv:1803.07466 [physics.ins-det] (accepted in JINST).

P. Ilten, Y. Soreq, M. Williams and W. Xue, “Serendipitous physics from dark photon searches,” JHEP 1806, 004 (2018) [arXiv:1801.04847 [hep-ph]].

P. Ilten, N. L. Rodd, J. Thaler and M. Williams, “Disentangling Heavy Flavor at Colliders,” Phys. Rev. D 96, no. 5, 054019 (2017) [arXiv:1702.02947 [hep-ph]].

 LHCb Collaboration, “Study of J/ψ Production in Jets,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, no. 19, 192001 (2017) [arXiv:1701.05116 [hep-ex]].

 P. Ilten, M. Williams and Y. Yang, “Event generator tuning using Bayesian optimization,” JINST 12, no. 04, P04028 (2017) [arXiv:1610.08328 [physics.data-an]].

 P. Ilten, Y. Soreq, J. Thaler, M. Williams and W. Xue, “Proposed Inclusive Dark Photon Search at LHCb,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, no. 25, 251803 (2016) [arXiv:1603.08926 [hep-ph]].

 T. Boettcher, P. Ilten and M. Williams, “Direct probe of the intrinsic charm content of the proton,” Phys. Rev. D 93, no. 7, 074008 (2016) [arXiv:1512.06666 [hep-ph]].

 P. Ilten, J. Thaler, M. Williams and W. Xue, “Dark photons from charm mesons at LHCb,” Phys. Rev. D 92, no. 11, 115017 (2015) [arXiv:1509.06765 [hep-ph]].

 T. Sjöstrand, S. Ask, J. Christiansen, R. Corke, N. Desai, P. Ilten, S. Mrenna, S. Prestel, C. Rasmussen and P. Skands, “An Introduction to PYTHIA 8.2,” Comput. Phys. Commun. 191, 159 (2015) [arXiv:1410.3012 [hep-ph]].

LHCb Collaboration, “First observation of top quark production in the forward region,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, no. 11, 112001 (2015) [arXiv:1506.00903 [hep-ex]].

 LHCb Collaboration, “Measurement of the forward Z boson production cross-section in pp collisions at √s = 7 TeV,” JHEP 1508, 039 (2015) [arXiv:1505.07024 [hep-ex]].

 LHCb Collaboration, “Study of W boson production in association with beauty and charm,” Phys. Rev. D 92, no. 5, 052001 (2015) [arXiv:1505.04051 [hep-ex]].

 LHCb Collaboration, “Identification of beauty and charm quark jets at LHCb,” JINST 10, no. 06, P06013 (2015) [arXiv:1504.07670 [hep-ex]].

 LHCb Collaboration, “Limits on neutral Higgs boson production in the forward region in pp collisions at √s = 7 TeV,” JHEP 1305, 132 (2013) [arXiv:1304.2591 [hep-ex]].

 LHCb Collaboration, “A study of the Z production cross-section in pp collisions at √s = 7 TeV using tau final states,” JHEP 1301, 111 (2013) [arXiv:1210.6289 [hep-ex]].

View all publications in research portal