Briefings

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.

Physics Briefing | 6th July 2017

A first LHC sighting of the Higgs boson in its favourite decay

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!

Physics Briefing | 6th July 2017

More than the sum of its parts: inside the proton

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

ATLAS releases new results in search for weakly-interacting supersymmetric particles

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of matter and the fundamental forces, leading to a paradigm shift in physics similar to when Einstein’s relativity superseded classical Newtonian physics in the early 20th century.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

Hunting for the superpartner of the top quark

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

New ATLAS precision measurements of the Higgs Boson in the 'golden channel'

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

New insight into the Standard Model

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

Making the most of the ATLAS detector

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

Charged-particle reconstruction at the energy frontier

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

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.

Physics Briefing | 6th April 2017

Improving our understanding of photon pairs

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

Quest for the lost arc

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.

Physics Briefing | 21st March 2017

Particle-hunting at the energy frontier

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.

Physics Briefing | 21st March 2017

Searching for signs of the “stop”

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”

Physics Briefing | 21st March 2017

The search for super-particles continues!

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

How strange is the proton?

What precision measurement of the inclusive W+, W− and Z/γ∗ production cross sections can tell us about the true nature of the proton.

Physics Briefing | 25th January 2017

Return of the top quark!

For the first time, ATLAS has measured the kinematics of the top quark and of the tt̅ system in 13 TeV events containing two charged leptons, two neutrinos and two jets (called “dilepton” events).

Physics Briefing | 13th January 2017

Measuring the W boson mass

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

Precision measurements with multi-TeV energy jets

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

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.

Physics Briefing | 6th August 2016

Double the bosons, double the excitement

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

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.

Physics Briefing | 5th August 2016

ATLAS observes the Higgs boson with Run 2 data

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.

Physics Briefing | 4th August 2016

Further progress in the quest for SUSY particles

ATLAS physicists have been eagerly searching the collected data for evidence of the production of the supersymmetric top quark (squark). Recent ATLAS results feature five separate searches for this elusive particle.

Physics Briefing | 4th August 2016

Hunting the origin of the top quark’s mass

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.

Physics Briefing | 4th August 2016