U.S. ATLAS Home Page
The detector, dubbed ATLAS, is one of four detectors located at a powerful accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which operated spectacularly since 2010 near Geneva, in Switzerland. For more information see http://atlas.ch/.
The LHC consists of two circular vacuum pipes in which protons travel in opposite directions and collide at nearly the speed of light eventually with a total collision energy of 7 tera-electron volts (TeV), or 7 trillion times the typical energy of a proton. By 2015, the total energy should be close to the design energy of 14 TeV. The accelerator spends about one month per year colliding beams of heavy ions such as lead with a total energy of 1,250 TeV, about 30 times higher than at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), currently operating at Brookhaven Lab. As of June 2012, there have been about 175 research papers submitted for publication in peer reviewed journals detailing many precision measurements as well as searches for new physics.
ATLAS is designed to detect particles created by the proton-proton collisions. One of its main goals is to look for a particle dubbed Higgs, which may be the source of mass for all matter. Findings may also offer insight into new physics theories as well as a better understanding of the origin of the universe.
Brookhaven National Laboratory is the host for the 44 U.S. institutions contributing to the project. In total, 176 laboratories and universities around the world are involved in building, operating, analyzing the data and upgrading parts of ATLAS.
The ATLAS detector has a cylindrical shape with layers stacked onto each other (like the layers of a “cylindrical onion”). Each of the layers detects different types of particles. When particles from the accelerator collisions are produced in the center of ATLAS, they move throughout the detector and are measured by its successive layers.
For more information visit the outreach site or the main ATLAS home page.