The ATLAS detector

Together with scientists from around the world, physicists at the MPP have developed and constructed the particle detector ATLAS. ATLAS is an experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a particle accelerator at the CERN research center in Geneva. The LHC began operating in 2008. In March 2010, the research program got under way at this proton-proton accelerator, working with the highest energies achieved to date at any accelerator facility. With the help of the LHC, researchers from all over the world want to coax out the secrets of the structure of matter and the fundamental forces.

ATLAS records the results of proton-proton collisions produced by the LHC. In the process, conditions similar to those in the extremely early, hot and dense universe shortly after the Big Bang are created. From that, the researchers gain insights about the fundamental building blocks of matter as well as their interactions. They are looking for new phenomena, such as the existence of higher dimensions of space and time and the origin of the dark matter that holds our universe together.

The MPP was and is involved with the development of instruments essential to the ATLAS detector – the inner detector, the calorimeters, and the muon chambers – as well as the setup of the computing system. A major technical upgrade is scheduled to start from 2026. The goal is to increase the number of proton collisions in order to obtain more data. MPP scientists and technicians are working to make ATLAS fit for the coming surge of new data.

30 years of ATLAS

The history of the truly big experiment began on October 1, 1992, when close to 90 research instituitions signed a common letter of intent to build a detector for proton-proton collisions. The Max Planck Institute for Physics was one these, its scientists contributed to the devolopment of major ATLAS components.

The greatest success of the ATLAS experiment so far was the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. As early as the 1960s, the theoretical phycisitst Peter Higgs, François Englert and Robert Brouthad proposed the existence of this particle: As a building block of the Standard Model, it gives other elementary particles their mass. For this, Higgs and Englert received the 2013 Nobel Prize.

Since June 2015, the LHC accelerator has been running with a record energy of 13 teraelectronvolts – nearly twice as much as in the years before. With that, the researchers hope to discover "new physics" – that is, particles and effects that do not occur in the Standard Model but which could help to solve the puzzles of the dark matter, the dark energy, and the missing antimatter in the universe.

Further information on the ATLAS experiment

News releases


30 years ago, 88 research institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the ATLAS experiment at CERN. To date, ATLAS is the largest particle detector ever built. The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) has been in the lead from the very beginning: MPP scientists drove the large-scale…

Read more

Exactly ten years ago, the ATLAS and CMS experiments announced a resounding success: Little less than three years after the launch of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the last missing piece in the Standard Model of particle physics had been found: The Higgs boson, a kind of messenger of the…

Read more

Despite the corona pandemic, the production of next-generation ATLAS muon chambers at the Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is proceeding as planned. Due to the current contact restrictions, the technicians are only permitted to work in shifts that vary on a daily basis. Nevertheless, the…

Read more

Operation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator has been resting since January of 2019. Although “resting” is not quite the right word: During the planned shutdown until early 2022, intensive work is being done on technical improvements – including the ATLAS experiment. The Max…

Read more

The ATLAS Collaboration at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has – at long last – observed the Higgs boson decaying into a pair of bottom (b) quarks. This elusive interaction is predicted to make up almost 60% of the Higgs boson decays and is thus primarily responsible for the Higgs natural width.…

Read more

New Results from the ATLAS Experiment

Scientists observe coupling of the Higgs boson to top quarks

Almost exactly six years ago, CERN discovered the Higgs boson, which is responsible for the mass of other elementary particles. Since then, the Higgs particle has been the focus of extensive research. For the first time, scientists from the ATLAS experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, with the…

Read more

Exactly five years after the Higgs boson discovery at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, new studies of this particle, involving significant MPP contributions, are presented at the EPS-HEP conference in Venice. The results are based on Run-2 proton-proton collision data collected by the ATLAS…

Read more

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN will be upgraded to ten times higher beam intensity by the year 2025, the high-luminosity Phase-II of the LHC, called HL-LHC.  It which will lead to a further increase of the discovery potential for new particles and much higher accuracy in the measurement of…

Read more

The MPP has spent the last few weeks equipping the ATLAS detector, the largest physics experiment in the world, with twelve new muon chambers. These instruments operate with much higher precision and read-out speed than their predecessors. They were developed and constructed at the MPP, including…

Read more

The ATLAS detector is currently undergoing a substantial upgrade: The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) has developed novel drift-tube chambers to measure muon tracks. The Institute will supply 12 of these muon chambers to CERN, where they are due to be installed in the ATLAS detector early in…

Read more

Group members

E-mail address:
Phone number: +49 89 32354-extension
name function e-mail extension office
Bangaru, Nayana Student bangaru 240 119
Barillari, Teresa, Dr. Senior Scientist barilla 369 227
Bethke, Siegfried, Prof. Dr. Director bethke 381 223
Britzger, Daniel, Dr. Postdoc britzger 453 229
Buchin, Daniel PhD Student dbuchin 376 226
Cieri, Davide, Dr. Senior Scientist dcieri 226 126
Delle Fratte, Cesare Senior Scientist drfalk3n MPCDF 3299-1157 MPCDF
Etzel, Lando Melvin von Student etzel 462 205
Fallavollita, Francesco, Ph.D. Postdoc fallavol 256 121
Grewe, Simon PhD Student grewe 358 126
Hadzic, Sejla PhD Student hadzic 462 205
Hanser, Elias Intern hansere 299 220
Hessler, Johannes PhD Student jhessler 453 229
Hill, Siddha Student siddha 453 229
Holzbock, Michael, Dr. Postdoc holzbock 376 226
Kado, Marumi, Prof. Dr. Director kado 382 219
Kiryunin, Andrey, Ph.D. Senior Scientist kiryunin 286 130
Kluth, Stefan, PD Dr. Senior Scientist skluth 468 246
Kortner, Oliver, PD Dr. Senior Scientist kortner 240 119
Kortner, Sandra, Dr. Senior Scientist sandra 288 127
Kroha, Hubert, Prof. Dr. Senior Scientist kroha 435 120
Leis, Ulrich Engineering leis 550 122C
Maly, Pavel, Ph.D. Engineering pmaly 385 451
Meier, Nick Student meiernic 240 119
Menke, Sven, Dr. Senior Scientist menke 410 209
Metz, Sarah Mavie Student metzsara 220 129
Murnauer, Josef Student josef 453 229
Nisius, Richard, PD Dr. Senior Scientist nisius 474 225
Proto, Giorgia, Dr. Postdoc proto 559 122
Reed, Alice PhD Student reed 220 129
Rendel, Marian PhD Student rendel 559 122
Richter, Robert, Dr. Senior Scientist richterr 358 230
Sahinsoy Karacasu, Merve, Dr. Postdoc sahinsoy 565 206
Schacht, Peter, Dr. Emeritus pys 228 210
Schielke, Anja Secretary schielke 299 220
Soyk, Daniel Engineering soyk 374 443
Spalla, Margherita, Dr. Postdoc mspalla 286 130
Stonjek, Stefan, Dr. Senior Scientist stonjek 296 221
Turkovic, Timur Student turkovic 559 122
Verbytskyi, Andrii, Dr. Senior Scientist andriish 453 229
Voevodina, Elena, Dr. Postdoc voevodin 559 122
Wenke, Nina PhD Student wenke 767 229
Wesely, Bastian Student wesely 240 119
Zimmermann, Jörg Engineering joergzim 446 442

Key publications

Observation of a new particle in the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson with the ATLAS detector at the LHC
ATLAS Collaboration (Georges Aad (Freiburg U.) et al.). Jul 2012. 29 pp.
Published in Phys.Lett. B716 (2012) 1-29
DOI: 10.1016/j.physletb.2012.08.020
The ATLAS Experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider
ATLAS Collaboration (G. Aad (Marseille, CPPM) et al.). 2008. 437 pp.
JINST 3 (2008) S08003
DOI: 10.1088/1748-0221/3/08/S08003
Measurements of the Higgs boson production and decay rates and coupling
strengths using pp collision data at √s=7 and 8 TeV in the ATLAS experiment
ATLAS Collaboration (Georges Aad (Marseille, CPPM) et al.). Jul 16, 2015. 64 pp.
Eur.Phys.J. C76 (2016) no.1
arXiv:1507.04548 [hep-ex]
DOI: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-015-3769-y

Measurement of the top quark mass in the tt¯→ lepton+jets
and tt¯→ dilepton  channels using √s=7 TeV ATLAS data
ATLAS Collaboration (Georges Aad (Marseille, CPPM) et al.). Mar 18, 2015. 35 pp.
Published in Eur.Phys.J. C75 (2015) no.7, 330
DOI: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-015-3544-0
Search for the electroweak production of supersymmetric particles in √s=8 TeV pp
collisions with the ATLAS detector
ATLAS Collaboration (Georges Aad (Marseille, CPPM) et al.). Sep 23, 2015. 61 pp.
Published in Phys.Rev. D93 (2016) no.5, 052002
arXiv:1509.07152 [hep-ex]
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.93.052002