EXOT group

ATLAS releases new result in hunt for mysterious magnetic monopoles

Dipole magnets are probably the best-known source of magnetic fields. They consist of a north and south pole; while one end magnetically attracts, the opposite repels. If you cut a magnet in half, you are left with two magnets, each with its own north and south pole. This apparent absence of an isolated magnetic pole - or “magnetic monopole” - has puzzled physicists for more than a century. It would seem perfectly natural for this particle to be present in our universe; Maxwell’s equations would reflect complete symmetry between electricity and magnetism if particles with magnetic charge were observed. So far the mystery remains: while every known particle in our universe is either electrically charged or neutral, none have been found to be magnetically charged.

3rd June 2019

First ATLAS result with full Run 2 dataset: a search for new heavy particles

Could a Grand Unified Theory resolve the remaining mysteries of the Standard Model? If verified, it would provide an elegant description of the unification of SM forces at very high energies, and might even explain the existence of dark matter and neutrino masses. ATLAS physicists are searching for evidence of new heavy particles predicted by such theories, including a neutral Z’ gauge boson.

27th February 2019

Producing four top quarks at once to explore the unknown

For several decades, particle physicists having been trying to better understand Nature at the smallest distances by colliding particles at the highest energies. While the Standard Model of particle physics has successfully explained most of the results that have arisen from experiments, many phenomena remain baffling. Thus, new particles, forces or more general concepts must exist and – if the history of particle physics is any indication – they could well be revealed at the high-energy frontier.

6th November 2018

Stronger together: combining searches for new heavy resonances

While the Standard Model has proven tremendously successful, much experimental evidence points to it not being a complete description of our universe. The search for “new physics” is therefore an important component of the ATLAS experimental programme, where a number of analyses are looking for signs of new heavy particles decaying to different final states. Though these searches have not yet found a significant signal, they have allowed physicists to place stringent constraints on different new physics scenarios. These can be further tightened by combining different analysis channels and approaches.

14th August 2018

Could a new type of quark fix the “unnaturalness” of the Standard Model?

While the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012 confirmed many Standard Model predictions, it has raised as many questions as it has answered. For example, interactions at the quantum level between the Higgs boson and the top quark ought to lead to a huge Higgs boson mass, possibly as large as the Planck mass (>1018 GeV). So why is it only 125 GeV? Is there a mechanism at play to cancel these large quantum corrections caused by the top quark (t)? Finding a way to explain the lightness of the Higgs boson is one of the top (no pun intended) questions in particle physics.

8th August 2018

Catching hadronic vector boson decays with a finer net

Many theoretical models predict that new physics, which could provide answers to these questions, could manifest itself as yet-undiscovered massive particles. These include massive new particles that would decay to much lighter high-momentum electroweak bosons (W and Z). These in turn decay, and the most common signature would be pairs of highly collimated bundles of particles, known as jets.

5th June 2018

Searching for forces beyond the Standard Model

The ATLAS collaboration is continuing to scour the wealth of data provided by the LHC for any signs of physics beyond the particles and interactions described by the Standard Model. One approach is to search for new forces in addition to the Standard Model’s electroweak and strong interactions. Such forces could be propagated by new massive bosons playing the role the W and Z bosons have in mediating the electroweak force.

8th May 2018

A new data-collection method for ATLAS aids in the hunt for new physics

What do you do when you produce more data than you can handle? This might seem like a strange question for experimental physicists, but it’s a problem that the ATLAS detector faces every day. While the LHC continues to produce ever-higher rates of proton collisions, the detector can only record data at a fixed rate. Therefore, tough choices must be made about what events to keep. This is not a decision made lightly – what if the thrown-away data contain some long-sought new particles beyond those of the Standard Model.

21st March 2018

The invisible plan

As the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) smashes together protons at a centre-of-mass energy of 13 TeV, it creates a rich assortment of particles that are identified through the signature of their interactions with the ATLAS detector. But what if there are particles being produced that travel through ATLAS without interacting? These “invisible particles” may provide the answers to some of the greatest mysteries in physics.

17th July 2017

Probing physics beyond the Standard Model with heavy vector bosons

Although the discovery of the Higgs boson by the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations in 2012 completed the Standard Model, many mysteries remain unexplained. For instance, why is the mass of the Higgs boson so much lighter than one would expect and why is gravity so weak?

8th July 2017

Chasing the invisible

Cosmological and astrophysical observations based on gravitational interactions indicate that the matter described by the Standard Model of particle physics constitutes only a small fraction of the entire known Universe. These observations infer the existence of Dark Matter, which, if of particle nature, would have to be beyond the Standard Model.

6th July 2017

Searching for new symmetries of nature

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.

6th April 2017

Hunting for new physics with boosted bosons

The Standard Model is a tremendously successful theory that describes our best understanding of elementary particles and their interactions, and even predicted the existence of the Higgs Boson. It does not however explain ~95% of the known universe – including dark matter and dDark energy – and does not include a description of gravity.

6th August 2016

High-mass di-photon resonances: the first 2016 ATLAS results

One of the highlights of last year’s physics results was the appearance of an excess in the search for a new particle decaying into two photons ("the di-photon channel"). New results in this channel were presented at the ICHEP conference in Chicago on Friday, 5 August.

5th August 2016

Continuing the search for extra dimensions

For a long time, physicists have assumed that space-time has four dimensions in total – three of space and one of time – in agreement with what we see when we look around us. However, some theorists have proposed that there may be other spatial dimensions that we don’t experience in our daily lives.

17th June 2016

Something went bump in the night

ATLAS has published hundreds of studies of LHC data, with the Higgs boson discovery being perhaps the best known. Amongst the Run 1 searches there was one which stood out: the diboson excess.

16th June 2016

The search for the dark side of the Universe

ATLAS scientists have just released a new publication with results based on an analysis of the early Run 2 data collected in 2015 using 13 TeV proton-proton collisions.

13th April 2016

Bumps in the light

Here we are at the second blog from the Moriond QCD conference and, as promised, I will discuss a bit of physics.

4th April 2016
4th April 2016

Searching beyond the Standard Model with photon pairs

The ATLAS Collaboration uses two selections in this search, one optimised for Higgs-like particles that are expected to have a strong signal compared to background with both photons in the central region of the detector (the “spin-0” selection) and a second optimised for graviton-like particles (the “spin-2” selection) which often have at least one photon close to the LHC proton beam axis.

22nd March 2016

The hills are alive, with the sound of gravitational waves

It’s 16:00 CET at CERN and I’m sitting in the CERN Main Auditorium. The room is buzzing with excitement, not unlike the day in 2012 when the Higgs discovery was announced in this very room. But today the announcement is not from CERN, but the LIGO experiment which is spread across two continents. Many expect the announcement to be about a discovery of gravitational waves, as predicted by Einstein in 1916, but which have remained elusive until today…

15th February 2016

Run 1 search for new massive bosons builds excitement for Run 2

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.

19th June 2015

Looking at the Dark side of Matter

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.

19th February 2015

Are quarks fundamental particles?

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.

6th July 2014

Quark Excitement: Is there anything smaller?

The Large Hadron Collider commands many superlatives. One of the most useful of these is that the LHC is our planet's most powerful human-built microscope. The higher the collision energy, the tinier the distances you can study.

23rd May 2012

Moriond day 1: The outer limits

Not many trips take you to all ends of the world in one day, but that was nevertheless how it felt after the first talks at Moriond. Sunday and Monday have mainly featured presentations on neutrino and dark matter physics. Many of these experiments are placed in remote regions or deep under ground.

5th March 2012

A Search for New Physics Processes using Dijet Events

The ATLAS Experiment has extended the energy frontier of searches for new particles and new processes beyond those of the Standard Model by studying collision events with so-called "dijets".

21st June 2011