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The ATLAS Experiment
ATLAS is the name of the particle physics experiment and its corresponding detector at the CERN laboratory. CoEPP experimentalists work on this experiment directly, through shifts of working on the detector, and through data analysis and presentation.
The experiment itself looks at the debris of extremely high-energy proton-proton collisions that occur in the Large Hadron Collider. When protons that are imbued with high energy collide, they decay into a myriad of different particles. ATLAS is one of the detectors used to identify particles and measure their momentum and energy. It is one of the primary experiments in the world used to search for the Higgs boson, supersymmetry (SUSY), extra dimensions and dark matter.
The ATLAS detector
(Photo and illustration courtesy of CERN)
ATLAS is a ‘general purpose’ detector designed to cover the widest possible range of physics at the LHC. ATLAS is 46 metres long, 25 metres high 25 metres wide and weighs 7,000 tonnes. It has six different detecting subsystems and a huge magnet system that bends the paths of charged particles for momentum measurement.
(Animation courtesy of ATLAS)
To get an idea of how each part fits into the whole detector ATLAS has made this video: ATLAS - Episode 1 - A New Hope
To get an idea of how each sub-detector functions ATLAS has made the sequel: ATLAS - Episode 2 - The Particles Strike Back
You can also visit the ATLAS Detector Overview where Episode 2 has been split up into separate sections for each detector module.