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.

ATLAS at the MPP

The large-scale "ATLAS detector" project was initiated 30 years ago. (Photo: Claudia Marcelloni/CERN)

30 years of ATLAS - 30 years of ATLAS at the MPP

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…

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A collision event in the ATLAS detector: Higgs boson coupling to top quark (Picture: ATLAS/CERN)

10 years of the Higgs boson

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…

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Team work in the clean room: MPP employees are mounting an optical measuring system onto the drift tube layers. It monitors potential deformations due to the self-weight of the muon chamber. The signal wires in the drift tubes are positioned with an accuracy of 1 hundreth of a millimeter. (Photo B. Wankerl/MPP)

ATLAS muon chambers in series production

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…

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Transport of a muon chamber to its destination (Photo: H. Kroha/MPP)

Installation of new muon detectors in the ATLAS experiment

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…

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A candidate event display for the production of a Higgs boson decaying to two b-quarks (blue cones), in association with a W boson decaying to a muon (red) and a neutrino.

There it is: ATLAS observes Higgs boson decay to a pair of bottom quarks

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…

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ATLAS candidate event for the Higgs boson production in association with two top quarks. The Higgs boson is detected through its decay into two photons (light blue lines), while the top quark decays are reconstructed from six hadronic showers (yellow and blue cones).

Scientists observe coupling of the Higgs boson to top quarks

New Results from the ATLAS Experiment

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…

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A candidate for a Higgs boson decay into two electrons (blue) and two muons (red), recorded in September 2015 with the ATLAS detector at the LHC.

Exploring the unknown with the Higgs boson - new ATLAS results released

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…

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The newly developed chip for the new readout system of the muon chambers used in HL-LHC. (Photo: M. Fras/MPP)

ATLAS Muon Detector Readout Electronics Workshop, 03-04 July 2017 at MPP

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…

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Installation of a muon chamber in the ATLAS detector

New muon chambers successfully installed in the ATLAS detector

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…

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350 drift tubes in eight layers are mounted in each muon chamber.

ATLAS detector: New muon chambers with higher precision

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…

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Abovyan, Sergey abovyan x A.2.15
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Bangaru, Nayana Student bangaru 240 A.2.15
Barillari, Teresa, Dr. Senior Scientist barilla 369 A.1.41
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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
arXiv:1207.7214
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
arXiv:1503.05427
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