Search ATLAS Briefings
Physics Briefing | 1st December 2020
One of the great unexplained mysteries is the nature of dark matter. So far, its existence has only been established through gravitational effects observed in space; no dark-matter particles with the needed properties have (yet) been detected. Could the Higgs boson be the key to their discovery?
Physics Briefing | 29th October 2020
ATLAS researchers are broadening their extensive search programme to look for more unusual signatures of unknown physics, such as long-lived particles. A theory that naturally motivates long-lived particles is supersymmetry (SUSY). A new search from the ATLAS Collaboration – released this week for the 5th International Conference on Particle Physics and Astrophysics (ICPPA-2020) – looks for the superpartners of the electron, muon and tau lepton
Physics Briefing | 7th October 2020
With new data from the LHC, ATLAS physicists have measured jet-quenching phenomena in the quark–gluon plasma with help of Z bosons.
Physics Briefing | 25th August 2020
The ATLAS Collaboration has announced the first observation of two W bosons produced from the scattering of two photons — particles of light – at the International Conference on High-Energy Physics (ICHEP 2020).
Physics Briefing | 5th August 2020
The ATLAS Collaboration has released a new study into a key building block of matter: leptons. This type of particle comes in three different families (flavours) and, according to the Standard Model, should follow strict rules. For instance, except for their mass, leptons of different flavours have identical properties – a feature known as lepton flavour universality. This was recently corroborated by a key measurement of the W-boson decay rates into leptons by the ATLAS Collaboration.
Physics Briefing | 3rd August 2020
Physicists can study Higgs-boson couplings in several ways: by measuring the rates of different Higgs boson production mechanisms and decays, and also by studying the particle’s kinematic properties. The ATLAS Collaboration has just presented precise new measurements of these key quantities. Several of these measurements were updated to use the full LHC Run 2 dataset (2015–2018), to provide the best precision to date.
Physics Briefing | 31st July 2020
Today, at the International Conference for High Energy Physics (ICHEP 2020), the ATLAS Collaboration announced first results using the ATLAS Forward Proton (AFP) spectrometer. With this instrument, physicists directly observed and measured the long sought-after prediction of proton scattering when particles of light turn into matter.
Physics Briefing | 30th July 2020
In the contest for the heaviest known elementary particle, the top quark and Z boson rank first and third, respectively. When a proton–proton collision produces a top-quark pair together with a Z boson – a process known as ttZ production – their total mass can reach an impressive 440 GeV! The discovery of this highly energetic process thus required the record collision energy and rate of the LHC; no previous collider could come close.
Physics Briefing | 30th July 2020
The nature of dark matter remains one of the great unsolved puzzles of fundamental physics. Many theoretical scenarios postulate that dark matter particles could be produced in the intense high-energy proton–proton collisions of the LHC. While the dark matter would escape the ATLAS detector unseen, it could occasionally be accompanied by a visible jet of particles radiated from the interaction point. Today, at the International Conference in High-Energy Physics (ICHEP 2020), ATLAS presented a new search for novel phenomena in collision events with jets and high missing transverse momentum (MET).
Physics Briefing | 27th July 2020
The ATLAS Collaboration has released a new paper on the search for the Higgs-boson decay to a pair of muons. The new study uses the entire dataset collected by the ATLAS experiment during Run 2 of the LHC (2015–2018) to give a first hint of this elusive process.
Physics Briefing | 23rd July 2020
How do you track a particle’s trajectory when your detector keeps moving? What if you find slight biases in your detector’s measurements? These were the challenges faced by the ATLAS Inner Detector during Run 2 of the LHC (2015–2018). Located at the heart of the experiment, the Inner Detector provides efficient and precise measurements of charged-particle tracks. In a new paper released today, physicists describe the complex solutions they developed to align the Inner Detector, ensuring the continued accuracy of the experiment.
Experiment Briefing | 16th July 2020
This week, at the LHCP 2020 conference, the ATLAS Collaboration presented a precise measurement of lepton flavour universality using a brand-new technique. Physicists examined collision events where pairs of top quarks decay to pairs of W bosons, and subsequently into leptons. They then measured the relative probability that this lepton is a muon or a tau-lepton – a ratio known as R(τ/μ). According to the Standard Model, R(τ/μ) should be unity – but there has been long-standing tension with this prediction, ever since it was measured at the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider in the 1990s.
Physics Briefing | 28th May 2020
Supersymmetry offers an elegant solution to the limitations of the Standard Model, extending it to give each elementary particle a “superpartner” with different spin properties. Yet SUSY also contains interactions that would cause phenomena not observed in nature, such as the decay of protons. This has traditionally been avoided by requiring the conservation of a property known as “R-parity” (or “matter-parity”), which incorporates the baryon number, lepton number and spin. ATLAS physicists are also considering SUSY models with R-parity violation (or “RPV”), which would allow the lightest SUSY particle to be observed decaying directly into Standard Model particles.
Physics Briefing | 27th May 2020
In a new result released today, the ATLAS Collaboration announced strong evidence of the production of four top quarks. This rare Standard Model process is expected to occur only once for every 70 thousand pairs of top quarks created at the LHC and has proven extremely difficult to measure.
Physics Briefing | 26th May 2020
Light-by-light scattering is a very rare phenomenon in which two photons – particles of light – interact, producing another pair of photons. Direct observation of this process at high energy had proven elusive for decades, until it was first seen by the ATLAS Collaboration in 2016 and established in 2019. In a new measurement, ATLAS physicists are using light-by-light scattering to search for a hyped phenomenon beyond the Standard Model of particle physics: axion-like particles.
Physics Briefing | 25th May 2020
The ATLAS Collaboration is exploring novel ways to search for new phenomena. Alongside an extensive research programme often inspired by specific theoretical models – ranging from quantum black holes to supersymmetry – physicists are applying new model-independent methods to broaden their searches. ATLAS has just released the first model-independent search for new particles using a novel technique called “weak supervision”.
Physics Briefing | 13th May 2020
Could the Higgs boson decay into dark matter? As dark matter does not interact directly with the ATLAS detector, physicists look for signs of “invisible particles”, inferred through momentum conservation of the proton–proton collision products. The ATLAS Collaboration searched the full LHC Run 2 dataset, setting the strongest limits on the Higgs boson decaying to invisible dark-matter particles to date.
Physics Briefing | 21st April 2020
The ATLAS Collaboration has just released a new result searching for the Higgs-boson decay to a Z boson and a photon. This result uses the full LHC Run 2 dataset, analysing almost four times as many Higgs-boson events as the previous ATLAS result.
Physics Briefing | 21st April 2020
A hallmark of the strong force at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the dramatic production of collimated jets of particles when quarks and gluons scatter at high energies. Particle physicists have studied jets for decades to learn about the structure of quantum chromodynamics – or QCD, the theory of the strong interaction – across a wide range of energy scales. Recent theoretical and experimental advancements in their study is now allowing ATLAS physicists to test the strong force in new ways.
Physics Briefing | 19th April 2020
When a particle is transformed into its antiparticle and its spatial coordinates inverted, the laws of physics are required to stay the same – or so we thought. This symmetry – known as “CP symmetry” (Charge conjugation and Parity symmetry) – was considered to be exact until 1964, when a study of the kaon particle system led to the discovery of “CP violation”. In a new result presented today, the ATLAS Collaboration performed a direct test of the CP properties of the interaction between the Higgs boson and top quarks. The result is based on an analysis of the full LHC Run-2 dataset, looking at collision events where the Higgs boson is produced in association with one or two top quarks, and in turn decays into two photons.
Physics Briefing | 7th April 2020
Two years ago, the Higgs boson was observed decaying to a pair of beauty-quarks (H→bb), moving its study from the “discovery era” to the “measurement era”. In new results presented today, the ATLAS Collaboration studied the full LHC Run 2 dataset to give an updated measurement of H→bb, where the Higgs boson is produced in association with a vector boson (W or Z).
Physics Briefing | 7th April 2020
A quarter-century after its discovery, physicists at the ATLAS Experiment are gaining new insight into the heaviest-known particle: the top quark. The huge amount of data collected during Run 2 of the LHC (2015-2018) has allowed physicists to study rare production processes of the top quark in great detail, including its production in association with other heavy elementary particles.
Physics Briefing | 21st February 2020
In new results presented today at CERN, the ATLAS Experiment’s search for supersymmetry (SUSY) reached new levels of sensitivity. The results examine a popular SUSY extension studied at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC): the “Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model” (MSSM), which includes the minimum required number of new particles and interactions to make predictions at the LHC energies.
Physics Briefing | 18th February 2020
The electromagnetic fields of the Lorentz-contracted lead nuclei in heavy-ion collisions at the LHC act as intense sources of high-energy photons, or particles of light. This environment allows physicists to study photon-induced scattering processes, that can not be studied elsewhere. A key process examined by ATLAS physicists involves the annihilation of photons into pairs of oppositely charged muons. The ATLAS Collaboration recently released a new, comprehensive measurement of this process.
Physics Briefing | 19th November 2019
During Run 2, ATLAS achieved an exceptionally high data-quality efficiency for a hadron collider, with over 95% of the 13 TeV proton-proton collision data certified for physics analysis. In a new paper released today, the ATLAS data quality team summarises how this excellent result was achieved.
Physics Briefing | 13th November 2019
Does the Higgs boson follow all of the rules set by the Standard Model? Since discovering the particle in 2012, the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations have been hard at work studying the behaviour of the Higgs boson. Any unexpected observations could be a sign of new physics beyond the Standard Model.
Physics Briefing | 6th August 2019
As the heaviest known particle, the top quark plays a key role in studies of fundamental interactions. Due to its short lifetime, the top quark decays before it can turn into a hadron. Thus, its properties are preserved and transferred to its decay products, which can in turn be measured in high-energy physics experiments. Such studies provide an excellent testing ground for the Standard Model and may provide clues for new physics.
Physics Briefing | 6th August 2019
New particles sensitive to the strong interaction might be produced in abundance in the proton-proton collisions generated by the LHC – provided that they aren’t too heavy. These particles could be the partners of gluons and quarks predicted by supersymmetry (SUSY), a proposed extension of the Standard Model of particle physics that would expand its predictive power to include much higher energies. In the simplest scenarios, these “gluinos” and “squarks” would be produced in pairs, and decay directly into quarks and a new stable neutral particle (the “neutralino”), which would not interact with the ATLAS detector. The neutralino could be the main constituent of dark matter.
Physics Briefing | 5th August 2019
As the heaviest known elementary particle, the top quark has a special place in LHC physics. Top quark-antiquark pairs are copiously produced in collisions recorded by the ATLAS detector, providing a rich testing ground for theoretical models of particle collisions at the highest accessible energies. Any deviations between measurements and predictions could point to shortcomings in the theory – or first hints of something completely new.
Physics Briefing | 5th August 2019
In the Standard Model of particle physics, elementary particles acquire their masses by interacting with the Higgs field. This process is governed by a delicate mechanism: electroweak symmetry breaking (EWSB). Although EWSB was first proposed in 1964, it remains among the least understood phenomena of the Standard Model as a large dataset of high-energy particle collisions is required to probe it.
Physics Briefing | 15th July 2019
This week, at the European Physical Society Conference on High-Energy Physics (EPS-HEP) in Ghent, Belgium, the ATLAS Collaboration at CERN released new measurements of Higgs boson properties using the full LHC Run 2 dataset. Critically, the new results examine two of the Higgs boson decays that led to the particle’s discovery in 2012: H→ZZ*→4ℓ, where the Higgs boson decays into two Z bosons, in turn decaying into four leptons (electrons or muons); and H → γγ, where the Higgs boson decays directly into two photons.
Physics Briefing | 12th July 2019
A key interaction not yet observed by LHC experiments is the production of “double Higgs”. The Standard Model predicts that the Higgs field can interact with itself to create a Higgs boson pair. The rate with which this happens is critical, as it allows physicists to directly probe the potential energy of the Higgs field, which is responsible for mass of particles. Deviations from the expectation would be a strong hint of new physics.
Today, at the European Physical Society Conference on High-Energy Physics (EPS-HEP) in Ghent, Belgium, the ATLAS Collaboration released a new preliminary result searching for Higgs boson decays to a muon and antimuon pair (H → μμ). The new, more sensitive result uses the full Run 2 dataset, analysing almost twice as many Higgs boson events as the previous ATLAS result.
Among the most intriguing particles studied by the ATLAS collaboration is the top quark. As the heaviest known fundamental particle, it plays a unique role in the Standard Model of particle physics and – perhaps – in yet unseen physics beyond the Standard Model. A new ATLAS result, presented today at the European Physical Society Conference on High-Energy Physics (EPS-HEP) in Ghent, Belgium, examines the full Run 2 dataset to find evidence of charge asymmetry in top-quark pair events, with a significance of four standard deviations.
The large amount of data delivered by the LHC in Run 2 (2015-2018) has not only allowed the ATLAS Experiment to probe previously unexplored territory for rare Standard Model processes and new physics, but also to measure already known processes to better precision. In both cases, but particularly the latter, a precise measurement of the integrated luminosity of the dataset is essential. In other words, how many proton collisions actually occurred in ATLAS during Run 2.
Physics Briefing | 1st July 2019
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.
Physics Briefing | 3rd June 2019
Today, at the Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP) conference in Puebla, Mexico, and at the SUSY2019 conference in Corpus Christi, USA, the ATLAS Collaboration presented numerous new searches for SUSY based on the full Run-2 dataset (taken between 2015 and 2018), including two particularly challenging searches for electroweak SUSY. Both target particles that are produced at extremely low rates at the LHC, and decay into Standard Model particles that are themselves difficult to reconstruct. The large amount of data successfully collected by ATLAS in Run 2 provides a unique opportunity to explore these scenarios with new analysis techniques.
Physics Briefing | 20th May 2019
One of the most complete theoretical frameworks that includes a dark matter candidate is supersymmetry. Dark matter is an unknown type of matter present in the universe, which could be of particle origin. Many supersymmetric models predict the existence of a new stable, invisible particle - the lightest supersymmetric particle (LSP) – which has the right properties to be a dark matter particle. The ATLAS Collaboration has recently reported two new results on searches for an LSP where it exploited the experiment’s full “Run 2” data sample taken at 13 TeV proton-proton collision energy. The analyses looked for the pair production of two heavy supersymmetric particles, each of which decays to observable Standard Model particles and an LSP in the detector.
Physics Briefing | 8th April 2019
The Higgs boson was discovered in 2012 by the ATLAS and CMS experiments, but its rich interaction properties (its coupling to other particles) have remained a puzzle. Thanks to an unprecedented amount of Higgs bosons produced at the LHC, all of the main Higgs boson production and decay modes have now been observed.
Physics Briefing | 19th March 2019
At the Rencontres de Moriond (La Thuile, Italy), the ATLAS Collaboration presented an updated measurement of ttH production in the diphoton channel. The result examines the full Run 2 dataset – 139 fb-1 collected between 2015 and 2018 – to observe ttH production in a single channel with a significance of 4.9 standard deviations.
Physics Briefing | 18th March 2019
Today, at the Rencontres de Moriond conference (La Thuile, Italy), the ATLAS collaboration released evidence for the simultaneous production of three W or Z bosons in proton–proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The W and Z bosons are the mediator particles of the weak force – one of the four known fundamental forces – which is responsible for the phenomenon of radioactivity as well as an essential ingredient to our Sun's thermonuclear process.
Physics Briefing | 18th March 2019
Light-by-light scattering is a very rare phenomenon in which two photons – particles of light – interact, producing again a pair of photons. The ATLAS Collaboration has reported the observation of light-by-light scattering with a significance beyond 8 standard deviations.
Physics Briefing | 17th March 2019
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.
Physics Briefing | 27th February 2019
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.
Physics Briefing | 6th November 2018
The study of hadrons – particles that combine together quarks to form mesons or baryons – is a vital part of the ATLAS physics programme. Their analysis has not only perfected our understanding of the Standard Model, it has also provided excellent opportunities for discovery. On 20 September 2018, at the International Workshop on the CKM Unitarity Triangle (CKM 2018), ATLAS revealed the most stringent experimental constraint of the very rare decay of the B0 meson into two muons (μ).
Physics Briefing | 25th September 2018
The Brout-Englert-Higgs (BEH) mechanism is at the core of the Standard Model, the theory that describes the fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions. It introduces a new field, the Higgs field, through which the weak bosons (W and Z) become massive while the photon remains massless. The excitation of this field is a physical particle, the Higgs boson, which was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations in 2012.
Physics Briefing | 5th September 2018
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.
Physics Briefing | 14th August 2018
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.
Physics Briefing | 8th August 2018
Today, at the 2018 International Conference on High Energy Physics in Seoul, the ATLAS experiment reported a preliminary result establishing the observation of the Higgs boson decaying into pairs of b quarks, furthermore at a rate consistent with the Standard Model prediction.
Physics Briefing | 9th July 2018
Higgs boson couplings manifest themselves in the rate of production of the Higgs boson at the LHC, and its decay branching ratios into various final states. These rates have been precisely measured by the ATLAS experiment, using up to 80 fb–1 of data collected at a proton-proton collision energy of 13 TeV from 2015 to 2017. Measurements were performed in all of the main decay channels of the Higgs boson: to pairs of photons, W and Z bosons, bottom quarks, taus, and muons. The overall production rate of the Higgs boson was measured to be in agreement with Standard Model predictions, with an uncertainty of 8%. The uncertainty is reduced from 11% in the previous combined measurements released last year.
Physics Briefing | 9th July 2018
The top quark is a unique particle due to its phenomenally high mass. It decays in less than 10-24 seconds, that is, before it had time to interact with any other particles. Therefore many of its quantum numbers, such as its spin, are transferred to its decay particles. When created in matter-antimatter pairs, the spins of the top quark and the antitop quark are expected to be correlated to some degree.
Physics Briefing | 6th July 2018
Two among the rarest processes probed so far at the LHC, the scattering between W and Z bosons emitted by quarks in proton-proton collisions, have been established by the ATLAS experiment at CERN.
Physics Briefing | 5th July 2018
A decisive property of the Higgs boson is its affinity to mass. The heavier a particle is, the stronger the Higgs boson will couple to it. While physicists have firmly established this property for heavy W and Z bosons (force carriers), more data are needed to measure the Higgs boson coupling to the heavy fermions (matter particles). These interactions, known as Yukawa couplings, are very interesting as they proceed through a quite different mechanism than the coupling to force-carrying bosons in the Standard Model.
Physics Briefing | 8th June 2018
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.
Physics Briefing | 5th June 2018
According to the Standard Model, quarks, charged leptons, and W and Z bosons obtain their mass through interactions with the Higgs field, whose fluctuation gives rise to the Higgs boson. To test this theory, ATLAS takes high-precision measurements of the interactions between the Higgs boson and these particles. While experiments had observed and measured the Higgs boson decaying to pairs of W or Z bosons, photons or tau leptons, the Higgs coupling to quarks had – until now – not been observed.
Physics Briefing | 4th June 2018
The ATLAS experiment has just completed a new search for evidence of supersymmetry (SUSY), a theory that predicts the existence of new “super-partner” particles, with different properties from their Standard Model counterparts. This search looks for SUSY particles decaying to produce two leptons and scrutinises the invariant mass distribution of these leptons, hoping to find a bump.
Physics Briefing | 2nd June 2018
In October 2017, the ATLAS experiment recorded collisions of xenon nuclei for the first time. While massive compared to a proton, xenon nuclei are smaller than the lead ions typically collided in the LHC. The xenon-xenon collision data, combined with previous results from the analysis of lead-lead collisions, provide the first opportunity to examine heavy ion collisions in a system that is distinctly smaller in size. This allows physicists to study in detail the role of the collision geometry for observables often associated with the quark-gluon plasma.
Physics Briefing | 24th May 2018
Heavy ion collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) form a hot, dense medium called the quark-gluon plasma (QGP), in which the primary constituents are thought to be quarks and gluons produced in the initial interactions of the nuclei. Besides typical heavy ion collisions, where the nucleons in the colliding nuclei undergo multiple strong interactions with each other, there is also a class of “ultraperipheral” collisions. In these collisions, the nuclei are far enough apart to miss each other, but the surrounding electromagnetic field of one nucleus is able to interact both with the other nucleus (“photonuclear” interactions) and with the other electromagnetic field (“photon-photon” interactions).
Physics Briefing | 19th May 2018
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.
Physics Briefing | 8th May 2018
Why is gravity so much weaker than the other forces of nature? This fundamental discrepancy, known as the “hierarchy problem”, has long been a source of puzzlement. Since the discovery of a scalar particle, the Higgs boson, with a mass of 125 GeV near that of the W and Z bosons mediating the weak force, the hierarchy problem is more acute than ever.
Physics Briefing | 7th May 2018
The ATLAS collaboration has released a set of comprehensive results that illuminate the properties of the Higgs boson with improved precision, using its decay into two photons with LHC collisions recorded at a centre-of-mass energy of 13 TeV.
Physics Briefing | 26th March 2018
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.
Physics Briefing | 21st March 2018
Discovering the Higgs boson can be likened to finding a new continent. While a momentous event in itself, the most exciting part remains the exploration of the new land! In a new result presented today at the Rencontres de Moriond, the ATLAS collaboration examined the Higgs boson decaying into two W bosons
Physics Briefing | 12th March 2018
The top quark – the heaviest known fundamental particle – plays a unique role in high-energy physics. Studies of its properties have opened new opportunities for furthering our knowledge of the Standard Model. In a new paper submitted to Physical Review D, the ATLAS collaboration presents a comprehensive measurement of high-momentum top-quark pair production at 13 TeV.
Physics Briefing | 31st January 2018
The production of top quarks in association with vector bosons is a hot topic at the LHC. ATLAS first reported strong evidence for the production of a top quark in association with a Z boson at the EPS 2017 conference. In a paper submitted to the Journal of High-Energy Physics, the ATLAS experiment describes the measurement of top-quark production in association with a W boson in 13 TeV collisions.
Physics Briefing | 18th January 2018
The Standard Model has a number of puzzling features. For instance, why does the Higgs boson have a relatively low mass? Could its mass arise from a hidden symmetry that keeps it from being extremely heavy? And what about dark matter? While the Standard Model has some (almost) invisible particles, like neutrinos, those particles can’t account for all of the dark matter observed by cosmological measurements.
Physics Briefing | 18th December 2017
Supersymmetry (SUSY) is an extension of the Standard Model that predicts the existence of “superpartners” with slightly different properties compared to their Standard Model counterparts. Physicists have been searching for signs of SUSY for over forty years, so far without success, which makes us think that SUSY particles — should they exist — are also heavier than particles in the Standard Model. However, in order for SUSY to help mitigate some problems with the Higgs boson sector of the Standard Model, SUSY particles should not be too heavy. And if some SUSY particles are relatively light, then they should be produced copiously at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). So for SUSY to remain an attractive theory of nature, it must be hiding in plain sight in LHC data.
Physics Briefing | 15th December 2017
The ATLAS collaboration has presented evidence of “ttH production”, a rare process where a pair of top quarks emits a Higgs boson. Observing this process would provide new insight into the Higgs mechanism and allow for new studies of how unknown physics might (or might not) change the behaviour of this fundamental particle.
Physics Briefing | 26th October 2017
Collisions of lead nuclei in the LHC form the hot, dense medium known as the quark-gluon plasma (QGP). Experimentally, the QGP is characterized by the collective flow of emerging quarks and gluons. They fragment into highly collimated “jets” of particles that in turn lose energy through a phenomenon known as “jet quenching”. Studying this effect can help improve our understanding of quantum chromodynamics, the theory of the strong nuclear interaction that governs the behaviour of the QGP.
Physics Briefing | 23rd October 2017
Ordinary matter is made of just three kinds of elementary particles: up and down quarks, which form the atomic nucleus, and electrons, which surround the nucleus. But the rest of nature is not so straightforward: heavier forms of quarks and leptons are produced regularly at particle accelerators.
Physics Briefing | 3rd October 2017
In order to produce rare physics phenomena, such as the Higgs boson or possible signs of new physics, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) collides tens of millions of protons per second. Under such conditions, around 20 simultaneous proton-proton interactions occur in each beam crossing. Thus, additional collisions called “pile-up” are recorded along with the collision of interest. Together, they form a single event for analysis.
Physics Briefing | 22nd September 2017
When ultra-relativistic heavy ions collide, a new state of hot and dense matter – the quark–gluon plasma (QGP) – is created. One of the key features for this state is the observation of long-range azimuthal angle correlations between particles emitted over a wide range of pseudorapidity. This phenomenon is often referred to as the “ridge”.
Physics Briefing | 28th August 2017
Since discovering a Higgs boson in 2012, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations have been trying to understand whether this new particle is the Higgs boson as predicted by the Standard Model, or a Higgs boson from a more exotic model containing new, as yet undiscovered, particles. The answer lies in the properties of the Higgs boson.
Physics Briefing | 11th August 2017
For many physicists, discovering “new physics” means bringing to light a new particle. Another path to discovery lies in carefully measuring the properties of known particles and the interactions between them. The ATLAS experiment has now released new results on the top quark's interaction with the charged intermediate vector boson.
Physics Briefing | 3rd August 2017
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.
Physics Briefing | 17th July 2017
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?
Physics Briefing | 8th July 2017
Observing rare productions of heavy elementary particles can provide fresh insight into the Standard Model of particle physics. In a new result, the ATLAS Experiment presents strong evidence for the production of a single top-quark in association with a Z boson.
Physics Briefing | 7th July 2017
Since the discovery of the elusive Higgs boson in 2012, researchers have been looking beyond the Standard Model to answer many outstanding questions. An attractive extension to the Standard Model is Supersymmetry (SUSY), which introduces a plethora of new particles, some of which may be candidates for Dark Matter.
The ATLAS collaboration has released a new preliminary measurement of the Higgs boson mass using 2015 and 2016 LHC data. The number of recorded Higgs boson events has more than tripled since the first measurement of the Higgs boson was released, using 2011/2012 data. An improved precision in the measurement of the Higgs boson mass has been made possible by both the increased collision energy of 13 TeV and improved collision rate.
Since resuming operation for Run 2, the LHC has been producing about 20,000 Higgs bosons per day in its 13 TeV proton–proton collisions. At the end of 2015, the data collected by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations were already enough to re-observe the Higgs boson at the new collision energy. Now, having recorded more than 36,000 trillion collisions between 2015 and 2016, ATLAS can perform ever more precise measurements of the properties of the Higgs boson
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.
Until now, the Higgs boson had been observed decaying to photons, tau-leptons, and W and Z bosons. However, these impressive achievements represent only 30% of the Higgs boson decays! The Higgs boson’s favoured decay to a pair of b-quarks, which was predicted to happen around 58% of the time and thus drives the short lifetime of the Higgs boson, had so far remained elusive. Observing this decay would fill in one of the big missing pieces of our knowledge of the Higgs sector. It would confirm that the Higgs mechanism is responsible for the masses of quarks and might also provide hints of new physics beyond our current theories. All in all, it is a vital missing piece of the Higgs boson puzzle!
Discovered almost 100 years ago by Ernest Rutherford, the proton was one of the first particles to be studied in depth. Yet there’s still much about it that remains a mystery. Where does its mass and spin come from? What is it made of? To answer these questions, ATLAS physicists are using “jets” of particles emitted by the LHC as a magnifying glass to examine the inner structure of the proton.
Physics Briefing | 13th June 2017
Supersymmetry is an extension to the Standard Model that may explain the origin of dark matter and pave the way to a grand unified theory of nature. For each particle of the Standard Model, supersymmetry introduces an exotic new “super-partner,” which may be produced in proton-proton collisions. Searching for these particles is currently one of the top priorities of the LHC physics program. A discovery would transform our understanding of the building blocks of matter and the fundamental forces, leading to a paradigm shift in physics similar to when Einstein’s relativity superseded classical Newtonian physics in the early 20th century.
Physics Briefing | 18th May 2017
Supersymmetry (SUSY) is one of the most attractive theories extending the Standard Model of particle physics. SUSY would provide a solution to several of the Standard Model’s unanswered questions, by more than doubling the number of elementary particles, giving each fermion a bosonic partner and vice versa. In many SUSY models the lightest supersymmetric particle (LSP) constitutes dark matter.
Physics Briefing | 17th May 2017
With the huge amount of proton–proton collisions delivered by the LHC in 2015 and 2016 at the increased collision energy of 13 TeV, ATLAS has entered a new era of Higgs boson property measurements. The new data allowed ATLAS to perform measurements of inclusive and differential cross sections using the “golden” H->ZZ*->4l decay.
Physics Briefing | 15th May 2017
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?
Physics Briefing | 9th May 2017
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.
Physics Briefing | 2nd May 2017
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.
Physics Briefing | 26th April 2017
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.
Physics Briefing | 6th April 2017
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.
Physics Briefing | 5th April 2017
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
Physics Briefing | 20th March 2017
The ATLAS collaboration is now reporting the first measurement of the W mass using LHC proton-proton collisions data at a centre-of-mass energy at 7 TeV. The ATLAS result matches the best single-experiment measurement of the W mass performed by the CDF collaboration.
Physics Briefing | 13th December 2016
The strong force is one of the four fundamental interactions of Nature. It governs the interactions between quarks and gluons, and is thus responsible for the stability of ordinary matter. In the proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, the strong force is seen in the production of collimated sprays of mesons and baryons, known as hadron jets. The ATLAS Collaboration has released the measurement of the inclusive jet production cross sections at the new 13 TeV energy frontier.
Physics Briefing | 23rd August 2016
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.
Physics Briefing | 6th August 2016
ATLAS has performed measurements of boson-pair production using data from 13 TeV proton-proton collisions that began in 2015. The cross-section (a measure of the production frequency) of the WW boson pair production was measured and was compared to a previous measurement in 8 TeV collisions.
Physics Briefing | 5th August 2016
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.
Physics Briefing | 5th August 2016
The LHC’s jump in energy to 13 TeV in Run 2, together with the copious amount of collisions delivered over the last 12 months, has allowed the ATLAS experiment to collect a data sample that is more than equivalent to the one collected during Run 1.
The ATLAS experiment has been searching for the process in which a pair of top quarks is produced, where one is a “virtual” particle that emits a Higgs boson on the way to becoming a “real” particle. This process is referred to as ttH production after the particles that are produced.
The nature of dark matter remains one of the greatest mysteries in physics. While extraordinary, the Standard Model can not explain dark matter, whose existence is well established by cosmological measurements.
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.
Physics Briefing | 17th June 2016
When the protons from the LHC collide, they sometimes produce W and Z bosons, the massive carriers of the weak force responsible for radioactive decays. These bosons are produced in abundance at the LHC and ATLAS physicists have now precisely measured their production rates using 13 TeV proton-proton collision data recorded in 2015.
Physics Briefing | 16th June 2016
2016 is set to be an outstanding year for the ATLAS experiment and the Large Hadron Collider. We’re expecting up to 10 times more data compared to 2015, which will allow us to make precise measurements of many known physics processes and to search for new physics.
Physics Briefing | 13th June 2016
According to classical electrodynamics, the electromagnetic energy (and mass) of a point-like electron should be infinite. This is of course not the case! The solution of the riddle is antimatter - the ‘vacuum’ around every electron is filled with a cloud of electrons and anti-electrons and the combined energy turns out to be finite.
Physics Briefing | 7th April 2016
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.
The new results confirm that the ridges in proton-proton, proton-nucleus, and nucleus-nucleus collisions have a similar origin. The results also show that the observed weak dependence on the numbers of charged particles and the centre-of-mass energy should provide strong constraints on the mechanism responsible for producing the ridge in proton-proton, and, maybe, proton-nucleus collisions.
Physics Briefing | 2nd October 2015
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 | 24th 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 | 17th 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 | 17th 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 | 12th 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 | 27th 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 | 22nd 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 | 19th 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 | 27th 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 | 24th 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 | 19th 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 | 9th 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 | 13th 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 | 7th 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 | 22nd 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 | 17th 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 | 14th 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 | 8th 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 | 6th July 2014
Completion of the analysis of 2012 data recorded by the ATLAS detector at the LHC’s collision energy of 8 TeV has significantly improved our capability of finding a supersymmetric partner of the top quark – also known as the top squark or the stop.
Data from a special run of the LHC using dedicated beam optics at 7 TeV have been analysed to measure the total cross-section of proton-proton collisions in ATLAS. Using the Absolute Luminosity For ATLAS (ALFA), a Roman Pot sub-detector located 240 metres from the collision point, ATLAS has determined the cross-section with unprecedented precision to be σtot (pp → X) = 95.4 ± 1.4 millibarn.
The production of a W boson in association with “jets” of particles initiated by quarks or gluons (“W+jets” events) is an important signature to test quantum chromodynamics, the theory of strong interactions. A new measurement reported by ATLAS focuses on studying the properties of the jets in a large data sample of W+jets events.
ATLAS has observed a particle state of mass and decay properties consistent with expectations for an excited state of the Bc meson. The discovery follows analysis of the full 7 TeV and 8 TeV proton-proton collision data sets from the LHC’s first run.
Evidence for the production of a W or Z boson together with a top quark pair, referred to as tt̄W and tt̄Z processes, has been found in the ATLAS analysis of the 8 TeV data from the LHC’s first run.
The ATLAS Collaboration has analyzed its full Run 1 data sample of seven and eight TeV (tera electron Volts) proton-proton collisions delivered by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), to produce an accurate measurement of the Higgs boson mass. The Higgs boson resonance appears as a narrow peak in the mass spectra of its decays to two photons or to four charged leptons, as shown in the two figures below.