Thomas C. Mehen

Professor of Physics

Office Location: 
249 Physics Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
Box 90305, Durham, NC 27708-0305
(919) 660-2555


Prof. Thomas Mehen works primarily on Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) and
the application of effective field theory to problems in hadronic physics.
Effective field theories exploit the symmetries of hadrons to make model
independent predictions when the dynamics of these hadrons are too hard to
solve explicitly. For example, the properties of a hadron containing a
very heavy quark are insensitive to the orientation of the heavy quark
spin. Prof. Mehen has used this heavy quark spin symmetry to make
predictions for the production and decay of heavy mesons and quarkonia at
collider experiments. Another example is the chiral symmetry of QCD which
is a consequence of the lightness of the up and down quarks. The
implications of this symmetry for the force between nucleons is a subject
of Prof. Mehen's research. Prof. Mehen has also worked on effective field
theory for nonrelativistic particles whose short range interactions are
characterized by a large scattering length. This theory has been
successfully applied to low energy two- and three-body nuclear processes.

Some of Prof. Mehen's work is interdisciplinary. For example, techniques
developed for nuclear physics have been used to calculate three-body
corrections to the energy density of a Bose-Einstein condensate whose
atoms have large scattering lengths. Prof. Mehen has also worked on novel
field theories which arise from unusual limits of string theory. Examples
include noncommutative field theories and theories of tachyonic modes on
non-BPS branes.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University 1997

  • M.A., Johns Hopkins University 1997

  • B.S., University of Virginia 1992

Lattice and Effective Field Theory Studies of Quantum Chromodynamics awarded by Department of Energy (Co-Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2018

Heavy Quarks, QCD, and Effective Field Theory awarded by Department of Energy (Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2009

Bain, R, Makris, Y, Mehen, T, Dai, L, and Leibovich, AK. "NRQCD Confronts LHCb Data on Quarkonium Production within Jets." Physical review letters 119.3 (July 18, 2017): 032002-. Full Text

Yao, X, Mehen, T, and Müller, B. "Dynamical screening of resonant scattering and thermal nuclear scattering rate in a plasma." Physical Review D 95.11 (June 2017). Full Text

Bain, R, Makris, Y, and Mehen, T. "Transverse momentum dependent fragmenting jet functions with applications to quarkonium production." Journal of High Energy Physics 2016.11 (November 2016). Full Text

Yao, X, Mehen, T, and Müller, B. "An effective field theory approach to the stabilization of 8 Be in a QED plasma." Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics 43.7 (July 1, 2016): 07LT02-07LT02. Full Text

Bain, R, Dai, L, Hornig, A, Leibovich, AK, Makris, Y, and Mehen, T. "Analytic and Monte Carlo studies of jets with heavy mesons and quarkonia." Journal of High Energy Physics 2016.6 (June 2016). Full Text

Hornig, A, Makris, Y, and Mehen, T. "Jet shapes in dijet events at the LHC in SCET." Journal of High Energy Physics 2016.4 (April 2016): 1-41. Full Text

Baumgart, M, Leibovich, AK, Mehen, T, and Rothstein, IZ. "Probing quarkonium production mechanisms with jet substructure." Journal of High Energy Physics 2014.11 (November 2014). Full Text

Kim, C, Idilbi, A, Mehen, T, and Yoon, YW. "Production of stoponium at the LHC." Physical Review D 89.7 (April 2014). Full Text

Mehen, T, and Powell, JW. "Line shapes in Υ(5S)→B(*)B ̄(*)π with Z(10610) and Z(10650) using effective field theory." Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology 88.3 (2013). Full Text