Physics and Astronomy » High Energy Physics »


18 Apr 2024


The ATLAS experiment is a general purpose particle detector based at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator. The LHC is a 27km machine that collides bunches of 1011 protons in the middle of the ATLAS detector at a rate of 40 million bunch crossings per second. In each bunch crossing, around 50 proton-proton collisions occur on average, which create new particles that will subsequently decay into complicated streams of particles that are recorded by our detector. Piecing together these complicated pictures allows us to recreate what happened in the collisions and to study the fundamental particles and forces of nature. The discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC, which led to the award of the Physics Noble Prize to F. Engelert and P. Higgs in 2013, was only the beginning of a 30 year physics programme. More indepth studies of the Higgs sector, searches for new physics and precision measurements of the Standard Model, will open a window upon how nature operates on the most fundamental levels, and allows us to answer key outstanding questions about the Universe:

  • What is dark matter?
  • Why is there more matter than antimatter in the Universe?
  • Is the newly discovered Higgs boson, the Standard Model Higgs boson?
  • Are there extra space-time dimensions?
  • Does Supersymmetry exist?
The UCL group leads many aspects of the ATLAS experiment that will help answer these fundamental questions and ensure we fully exploit the vast amount of data supplied by the LHC:
The LHC, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator (left) and the ATLAS detector (right).