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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. Technical upgrades are scheduled to be completed by 2025. 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.

25 years of ATLAS

In 2017, ATLAS celebrated its 25th birthday. 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


It’s all about high-energy and astroparticle physics at Wildbad Kreuth from Oct. 4 to 9, 2015, when the Max Planck Institute for Physics hosts this year’s International Symposium on Multiparticle Dynamics (ISMD). Held annually since 1970, the ISMD conference rotates from year to year among different...

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Today ATLAS and other particle physics experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) began recording physics data from 13 TeV proton collisions, which allow for precision studies of the Higgs boson and other Standard Model particles, as well as the search for new particles with higher masses....

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By analyzing their combined data the CMS and LHCb collaborations revealed the very rare decay of a B0s particle into two muon particles. The Standard Model, the theory that best describes the world of particles, predicts that this rare subatomic process happens about four times out of a billion...

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After two years of intense maintenance and consolidation, and several months of preparation for restart, the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, is back in operation.

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A short circuit that had delayed the relaunch of the Large Hadron Collider has been remedied. Now the LHC is back on track for the initiation of Run 2.

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After its first long shutdown for planned maintenance the Large Hadron Collider is ready to start up again.

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CERN announced at the 174th session of the CERN Council on 12 December that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is gearing up for its second three-year run. The LHC is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world and the whole 27-kilometre superconducting machine is now almost cooled...

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This week ATLAS launched the citizen science project "Higgs Hunters" in cooperation with Oxford University and New York University. The project gives volunteers the chance to help researchers deal with the huge amount of data that confronts them.

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On November 24th CERN launched its Open Data Portal where data from real collision events, produced by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will for the first time be made openly available to all. It is expected that these data will be of high value for the research community, and also be...

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Group members

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Barillari, Teresa, Dr.

Scientist 369

Baron Perez, Nicolas

Student 462

Bethke, Siegfried, Prof. Dr.

Director 381

Bongratz, Patrick

Student 256

Britzger, Daniel

Postdoc 453

Chikkaballi Ramalingegowda, Abishek

Student 416

Cieri, Davide, Dr.

Postdoc 358

Delle Fratte, Cesare

Scientist MPCDF 3299-1157

Duda, Dominik, Dr.

Postdoc 256

Gadow, Philipp

PhD-Student 220

Guescini, Francesco, Ph.D.

Postdoc 416

Hönle, Andreas

PhD-Student 220

Jimenez Pena, Javier, Ph.D.

Postdoc 265

Junggeburth, Johannes

PhD-Student 226

Kiryunin, Andrey, Ph.D.

Scientist 286

Klinke, Maximilian

Student 376

Kluth, Stefan, PD Dr.

Scientist 468

Kortner, Oliver, PD Dr.

Scientist 240

Kortner, Sandra, Dr.

Scientist 288

Kroha, Hubert, Prof. Dr.

Scientist 435

Leis, Ulrich

Engineering 550

Maschek, Stefan

PhD-Student 358

McCarthy, Thomas George, Ph.D.

Postdoc 540

Menke, Sven, Dr.

Scientist 410

Nisius, Richard, PD Dr.

Scientist 474

Rendel, Marian

PhD-Student 559

Richter, Robert, Dr.

Scientist 358

Rieck, Patrick, Dr.

Postdoc 376

Schacht, Peter, Dr.

Scientist 228

Schmidt-Sommerfeld, Korbinian

PhD-Student 376

Soyk, Daniel

Engineering 374

Spalla, Margherita, Dr.

Postdoc 286

Stonjek, Stefan, Dr.

Scientist 296

Tafula, Sergio

Scientist MPCDF 3299-1542

Veneris, Sophia

Student 256

Verbytskyi, Andrii, Dr.

Scientist 453

Voithenleitner, Michael

Student 462

Walbrecht, Verena

PhD-Student 220

Zimmermann, Joerg

Engineering 446

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