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Well-secluded, meters underground in the vicinity of Geneva, Switzerland, a lot of people are looking for answers to all these questions revolving around our understanding of our world and the whole universe.

ATLAS Blog | Page 8 | ATLAS Experiment at CERN

The LHC can accelerate so-called heavy particles, hadrons, up to In the experiments run here, these particles circulate through the LHC 11, times per second. And they collide with each other million times per second and disintegrate into other particles. These are incomprehensible numbers that have to be measured, stored and processed. A megabyte of raw data is generated when two particles collide with one another … and that happens million times per second.

Algorithms written by scientists determine what actually gets saved. Only events of interest to researchers are registered and stored; the rest is deleted.

Accordingly, of the million events per second, approximately , cases per second are documented. Detailed algorithms finally pare this number down to about collisions per second. Although an experiment might take only a few minutes or a couple of hours to run on the LHC, the assessment and analysis of the data—even with the help of thousands of scientists working on it simultaneously—takes many years.

Nevertheless, the evaluation of the measured data is still going on, as scientists attempt to get an overall picture of what actually occurs.

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Everyone knew that it was a momentous occasion. The Higgs was searched for in CMS by looking for several different signatures in the detector. Since the Higgs is unstable, we can only observe its decay products and not the Higgs itself. And because the mass of the Higgs is about GeV nobody knows why, more on that later , it decays in many different ways: to bottom quarks, W and Z bosons, tau leptons, and also photons. The Higgs can also be produced in several different ways. Each of the production mechanisms provide unique information to help determine whether what we see in our detector is coming from a Higgs particle, or from something else far less interesting.


At the Leading Edge: The ATLAS and CMS LHC Experiments

In order to make the search as sensitive as possible, CMS performed five separate searches for particular Higgs decay signatures. Each of these searches had their own unique advantages and challenges, and only by combining all of them together was it possible to discover the Higgs. Figure 2: The significance of the Higgs signal as a function of its mass from the dataset used by CMS for the discovery.

To claim a discovery the local p-value, which represents the probability that the background could fake a signal, must be smaller than about 0. To reach this level, CMS combined the significance from the searches in 5 different decay channels, assuming their relative ratios were the same as the standard model. Now, on July 4th , we are celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Higgs discovery.

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We have been busy trying to learn more about this new particle since The LHC is also being tested for operation at its design energy of 14 TeV, while, in the background, civil-engineering works for the high-luminosity upgrade HL-LHC , due to enter service in , are proceeding apace. The past three years of Run 2 at a proton—proton collision energy of 13 TeV have seen the LHC achieve record peak and integrated luminosities, forcing the detectors to operate at their limits.

Since the beginning of the LHC programme, it was clear that the original detectors would last for approximately a decade due to radiation damage.

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That time has now come. Improvements, repairs and upgrades have been taking place in the LHC detectors throughout the past decade, but significant activities will take place during LS2 and LS3, beginning , capitalising on technology advances and the ingenuity of thousands of people over a period of several years. Combined, the technical design reports for the LHC experiment upgrades number some 20 volumes each containing hundreds of pages.

For this, the collaboration is building a new scintillator detector to be integrated in CMS, in addition to service work on its silicon-strip and spectrometer detectors. Currently, the LHCf detectors are being prepared for 14 TeV proton—proton operations, higher luminosities and also for the possibility of colliding protons with light nuclei such as oxygen, requiring a completely renewed data-acquisition system.

The LHC Experiments