ATLAS is ready for detailed physics studies. The experiment used early data collected from the LHC’s Run 2 to calibrate its detectors. Measurements of the production and leptonic decay of certain particle resonances have shown that the detectors and software are working as expected.
Jets are collimated sprays of hadrons generated from quarks and gluons, produced either directly in the proton-proton collision or as a part of the decay of W bosons, Z bosons, Higgs bosons, top quarks or new particles yet to be discovered. In fact, all W, Z and Higgs bosons decay most often to quarks which form jets.
On 23 July 2015, ATLAS presented its first measurements of soft strong interaction processes using charged particles produced in proton–proton collisions at 13 TeV centre-of-mass energy delivered by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. These measurements were performed with a dataset collected beginning of June under special low-luminosity conditions.
The ATLAS experiment is now taking data from 13 TeV proton-proton collisions. The increased collision energy and rate in these Run 2 collisions will allow physicists to carry out stronger tests of many theoretical conjectures, including several theories that predict more massive versions of force-carrying particles like the W and Z bosons.
The discovery of a Higgs Boson in 2012 by the ATLAS and CMS experiments marked a key milestone in the history of particle physics. It confirmed a long-standing prediction of the Standard Model, the theory that underlines our present understanding of elementary particles and their interactions.
The ATLAS experiment has released results confirming that the Higgs boson has spin 0 (it is a so-called “scalar”) and positive parity as predicted by the Standard Model, making it the only elementary scalar particle to be observed in nature.
In proton-proton collisions, several processes can lead to the production of a Higgs boson. The most “frequent” process (which is about one collision in four billion!) is the fusion of two gluons, contained in the initial protons, into a Higgs boson through a “top-quark loop”. Least frequent is a mode where the Higgs boson is produced in association with a pair of top-quarks.
The search continues for dark matter, a new kind of matter that doesn’t emit or absorb light. It is assumed to account for the missing amount of mass in our Universe. The total mass in our Universe can be inferred from the observation of gravitational effects of stars in galaxies, and galaxies in clusters of galaxies. However the amount of mass calculated from the observed distribution of light is much less. It is proposed that dark matter makes up the discrepancy as it does not emit light.
If all the experimental evidence supports a theory, why should anyone want to dream up additional particles? Yet exactly this situation arose in the late 1960s. At that time, when the complete table of the known hadrons could be explained with just three quarks, theorists were already proposing a fourth, which they whimsically called “charm”.
The Large Hadron Collider is known to collide protons, but for one month a year, beams of lead ions are circulated in the 27-km tunnel and made to collide in the centre of the experiments. The ATLAS experiment has made new precise measurements of the suppression of jets as they blast through the dense matter created by the lead ion collisions.