ATLAS detector

View of the ATLAS detector during July 2007
(Credit: CERN)

ATLAS is one of the four main experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Like CMS, ATLAS is a general purpose detector designed to investigate a wide range of physics including supersymmetry, extra dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter.

The scientific goals for the two experiments are the same, but they use different technical solutions. These similar science goals, but different designs allow the two experiments to cross-check results and confirm exciting discoveries such as a Higgs boson.

Quick facts

About the ATLAS detector
Size 46 metres long, 25 metres in diameter
Weight 7,000 tonnes
Design Barrel plus endcaps
About the ATLAS people
Collaboration More than 3000 physicists, engineers, technicians and support staff
Number of countries 38
Number of institutes 174
Number of UK institutes 16

How does it work?

The main feature of ATLAS is its enormous magnet system; eight 25m long superconducting magnet coils forming a cylinder around the beam pipe at the heart of the detector. The magnets bend the paths of charged particles to measure their momentum.

Mapping the secrets of the Universe (passport big bang)
(Credit: CERN)

ATLAS records sets of measurements on the particles created in collisions - their motion, energies, and their characteristics. This is done by six different detecting subsystems that identify particles and measure their momentum and energy.

ATLAS has the largest volume of any collider detector ever constructed. It was built in a cavern, 100m below ground near the village of Meyrin in Switzerland.

ATLAS built in 3 minutes
(Credit: The ATLAS Experiment)

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000