ATLAS Experiment © 2015 CERN
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. More Information
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. In 2015, the total energy was 13 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 National Laboratory. As of October 2015, there have been about over 475 research papers published in scientific journals that include the discovery of the Higgs boson.
ATLAS is designed to detect particles created by the proton-proton collisions. ATLAS has already completed one of its main goals, the discovery of a particle called the Higgs boson, which gives mass to the elementary particle building blocks of 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 47 U.S. institutions contributing to the project. In total, 178 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.