Energy Frontier

The ATLAS experiment

The ATLAS experiment is located at the CERN laboratory in Geneva and is one of the largest particle physics experiments in the world in terms of size and number of scientists working on it. ATLAS records the products of the proton-proton collisions from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The Manchester ATLAS team consists of seven academic members of staff, twelve research staff and about twenty PhD students.

Manchester physicists study a diverse range of physical phenomena using the ATLAS data, with the primary goal of searching for new particles or new types of particle interactions. We do this by making precision measurements of Higgs boson and electroweak boson production, which are sensitive to anomalous interactions caused by new as-yet-undiscovered heavy particles. We also search directly for new particles that could be produced in proton-proton collisions, such as dark matter. We have also led many measurements sensitive to the properties of the top quark and the nature of the strong force.

We also make major contributions to the running, performance and computing of the ATLAS experiment. These include the reconstruction, identification and calibration of particles in the detector, the design and running of the data acquisition and selection (trigger) system, the estimation of the data recorded by the LHC (luminosity), the generation and detector simulation of collision events for theory to be compared to data, and the design, development and maintenance of the Worldwide Computing Grid infrastructure for distributed computing.

The upgrade of the LHC, called the High Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) will deliver an order of magnitude more data compared to the baseline programme that is ongoing at the moment. In order to make the most of this data, the ATLAS experiment will require substantial upgrades in its detector and data selection systems. Manchester has significant involvement in the development, construction and testing of future ATLAS pixel detectors and 3D diamond detectors. Physicists at Manchester are also driving the design of the future trigger and data acquisition system.

Future Colliders

Manchester physicists are also involved in the planning of future colliders and their experiments, such as the Future Circular Collider (FCC). This is one of the proposals for higher performance particle colliders that will follow the High-Luminosity phase of the LHC in the 2040s and beyond.