Ever since the LHC collided its first protons in 2009, the ATLAS Collaboration has been persistently studying their interactions with increasing precision. To this day, it has always observed them to be as expected by the Standard Model. Though it remains unrefuted, physicists are convinced that a better theory must exist to explain certain fundamental questions: What is the nature of the dark matter? Why is the gravitational force so weak compared to the other forces?
Up to now, ATLAS has measured the energies and positions of jets using the finely segmented calorimeter system, in which both electrically charged and neutral particles interact. However, the inner detector tracking system provides more precise measurements of charged particle energies and positions. A recent ATLAS paper describes a particle flow algorithm that extrapolates the charged tracks seen by the inner detector to the calorimeter regions.
A new age of exploration dawned at the start of Run 2 of the Large Hadron Collider, as protons began colliding at the unprecedented centre-of-mass energy of 13 TeV. The ATLAS experiment now frequently observes highly collimated bundles of particles (known as jets) with energies of up to multiple TeV, as well as tau-leptons and b-hadrons that pass through the innermost detector layers before decaying. These energetic collisions are prime hunting grounds for signs of new physics, including massive, hypothetical new particles that would decay to much lighter – and therefore highly boosted – bosons.
The fundamental forces of nature are intimately related to corresponding symmetries. For example, the properties of electromagnetic interactions (or force) can be derived by requiring the theory that describes it to remain unchanged (or invariant) under a certain localised transformation. Such an invariance is referred to as a symmetry, just as one would refer to an object as being symmetric if it looks the same after being rotated or reflected. The particular symmetry related to the forces acting among particles is called gauge symmetry.
High-energy photon pairs at the LHC are famous for two things. First, as a clean decay channel of the Higgs boson. Second, for triggering some lively discussions in the scientific community in late 2015, when a modest excess above Standard Model predictions was observed by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations.
Nature has surprised physicists many times in history and certainly will do so again. Therefore, physicists have to keep an open mind when searching for phenomena beyond the Standard Model.
There are many mysteries the Standard Model of particle physics cannot answer. Why is there an imbalance between matter and anti-matter in our Universe? What is the nature of dark matter or dark energy? And many more. The existence of physics beyond the Standard Model can solve some of these fundamental questions. By studying the head-on collisions of protons at a centre-of-mass energy of 13 TeV provided by the LHC, the ATLAS Collaboration is on the hunt for signs of new physics.
In new results presented at the Moriond Electroweak conference, the ATLAS Collaboration has sifted through the full available data sample of the LHC’s 13 TeV proton collisions in search of a specific SUSY particle: the heavy partner to the top quark, called the “top squark” or “stop”
Many of the most important unanswered questions in fundamental physics are related to mass. Why do elementary particles, which we have observed and measured at CERN and other laboratories, have the masses they do? And why are they so different, with the mass of the top quark more than three hundred thousand times that of the electron? The presence of dark matter in our universe is inferred because of its mass but, if it is a particle, what is it? While the Standard Model has been a tremendously successful theory in describing the interactions of sub-atomic particles, we must look to even larger masses in search of answers and, potentially, new supersymmetric particles
Every March for the past 50 years, particles physicists have been heading to the mountains. The terminus of this migration? Les Rencontres de Moriond, one of the year’s first major conference for high-energy physics.