Most of the matter in the universe is made not of stuff we understand, but of invisible “dark matter” particles. We have yet to observe these mysterious particles on Earth, presumably because they interact so weakly with normal matter. The high energy collisions in the Large Hadron Collider provide our best current hope of making dark matter particles, and thus giving us a better understanding what most of the universe is made of.
Physics Briefing | 24 August 2015
W and Z bosons are the massive carriers of the weak force, responsible for radioactive decays. These bosons also couple closely to the Higgs boson. W and Z bosons are produced at a large rate in proton-proton collisions at the LHC, where ATLAS physicists have now measured the rates for W and Z boson production using 13 TeV proton-proton collisions
Physics Briefing | 17 August 2015
One of the most basic quantities in particle physics, the rate at which protons scatter off of one another (the cross section), cannot be calculated from the theory of strong interactions, quantum chromodynamics. It must instead be measured, and those measurements can then be used to tune the numerical models of LHC proton–proton collisions.
Physics Briefing | 17 August 2015
A new set of techniques is being used to identify highly energetic top quarks, W and Z bosons, and Higgs bosons decaying to quarks and, ultimately, to hadrons measured in ATLAS. Signatures of these “boosted” Standard Model particles are particularly useful when searching for massive new particles and measuring processes at high energies.
Physics Briefing | 12 August 2015
With a precision of just under 14% − currently dominated by our ability to understand how many proton-proton collisions have occurred at ATLAS (i.e. luminosity) − this measurement is able to confirm that quantum chromodynamics, the theory of the strong interaction, still seems to be going strong!
Physics Briefing | 27 July 2015
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.
Previous studies of two-particle angular correlations in proton-proton, proton-lead, and lead-lead collisions at the LHC have provided important insight on the physics of the particle production process. On 24 July, Atlas presented new preliminary measurements of two-particle correlations...
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.
Physics Briefing | 22 July 2015
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.
Physics Briefing | 19 June 2015
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.
Physics Briefing | 27 March 2015
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.
Physics Briefing | 24 March 2015
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.
Physics Briefing | 19 February 2015
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”.
Physics Briefing | 9 January 2015
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.
Physics Briefing | 13 November 2014
The Standard Model makes many different predictions regarding the production and decay properties of the Higgs boson, most of which can be tested at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Since the discovery, experimentalists from the ATLAS collaboration have analysed the complete dataset recorded in 2011 and 2012, have improved the calibration of the detector, and have increased substantially the sensitivity of their analyses.
Physics Briefing | 7 October 2014
Theories, such as supersymmetry, propose the existence of new types of particles to explain important questions about the universe, such as the nature of dark matter. ATLAS has performed a search for one such type – exotic heavy particles that have lifetimes long enough that they travel partway through the detector before decaying, at what is called a displaced vertex.
Physics Briefing | 22 September 2014
The discovery of the Higgs boson by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations in 2012 marked a new era in particle physics because it completed the Standard Model and gave us another tool to explore territories beyond. The Standard Model predicts precisely the interactions of the Higgs boson to all other elementary particles once its mass is measured.
The fusion of two weak bosons is an important process that can be used to probe the electroweak sector of the Standard Model. Measurements of Higgs production via weak-boson fusion are crucial for precise extraction of the Higgs-boson couplings and have the potential to help pin down the charge conjugation and parity of the Higgs boson. A similar process, weak-boson scattering, is sensitive to alternative electroweak symmetry-breaking models and to anomalous weak-boson gauge couplings. These processes are extremely rare and the experimental observation of the production of heavy bosons via weak-boson fusion has become possible only recently with the large centre-of-mass energy and luminosity provided by the LHC. Extracting the signals from the huge backgrounds in the high pile-up conditions at the LHC is a major challenge.
The Standard Model of particle physics has been extremely successful in predicting a vast variety of phenomena – so successful, that it is easy to forget that some of its predictions have not yet been verified. A very important one, related intimately to electroweak symmetry breaking, is that the gauge bosons (γ, W and Z) can interact with each other through quartic interactions.
ATLAS has measured properties of events likely to contain a Higgs boson, in order to get a better understanding of the frequency and manner in which they are produced. The study specifically examines the fiducial and differential cross sections for Higgs bosons that decay into two photons or into two Z bosons, using proton-proton collisions recorded by ATLAS in 2012.
Physics Briefing | 17 July 2014
ATLAS physicists have studied the “shadow” of the Higgs boson far above its mass peak in an analysis of the full sample of 8 TeV proton-proton collisions delivered by the LHC in 2012. The study involves Higgs boson decays into two Z bosons, which themselves decay into four charged leptons or two charged leptons plus two neutrinos. Among other interesting properties, it provides new insight into the lifetime, or natural width, of the Higgs boson.
Physics Briefing | 14 July 2014
The production of pairs of heavy bosons, such as two Z bosons, a Z and a W boson, or the more challenging pair of W bosons (WW), are processes that particle physicists are passionate about because they cover a rich spectrum of phenomena. The WW channel, in particular, represents a substantial experimental challenge. In the events considered for this measurement, each W boson decays into an electron or a muon plus a neutrino that remains undetected and is reconstructed through the presence of missing energy in the event.
Physics Briefing | 8 July 2014
From decades of discoveries made at particle colliders, we know that protons are composed of quarks bound together by gluons. We also know that there are six kinds of quarks, each one with its associated antiparticle. But are quarks fundamental? ATLAS searched for signs that quarks may have substructure in its most recent data, collected from the LHC’s proton-proton collisions in 2012.
Physics Briefing | 6 July 2014