Introduction to particle physics
Legnaro National Laboratories (LNL) is also involved in research activities related to particle physics or sub nuclear physics at high energy. Such searches are not carried out at the existing LNL accelerator facilities, which are dedicated to low-energy nuclear physics, but in other international research centers, where large accelerators, reaching energy levels needed to explore in great details the sub nuclear components of matter, are installed.
The largest and most powerful accelerator ever is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research - CERN in Geneva. LHC is installed near Geneva across the French-Swiss border.
The main high energy physics goals that such a big accelerator facility has been pursuing are:
- the study of the Higgs’ boson, discovered at LHC in 2012, (video) which could explain why particles have mass. The SM is a widely accepted theory tested with high precision in the last decades, which gives us a description of the elementary particles at the basis of the known matter in the Universe, as well as the way they interact each other;
- a dramatic improvement of statistic uncertainty about the measurement of some interesting physics parameters, as well as the confirmation of some subnuclear processes which, although having rare occurrence, are however internal to the SM, involving in particular both top and bottom quarks;
- Symmetry Violations studies and the observation of the state of matter known as "quark-gluon plasma";
- the Standard Model and beyond, testing alternative physics theories such as those known as Supersymmetry (SUSY), Technicolor, Strings, Extra Dimensions, which might give an answer to some still unveiled issues discovered in the Universe in the last decade, such as the “Dark Matter” and the “Dark Energy”.
In short, the four, quite large, detector apparatuses available at LHC, probing the matter at the "infinitely small" level, aims at studying the "infinitely large", i.e. the Universe itself, from the birth up to present stage. To perform such a goal, the following four experiments and international cooperation (involving thousands among physicists, engineers, technicians and technologists) are studying the collisions products at LHC:
Legnaro labs are involved in the international efforts and collaboration on ALICE and CMS experiments mainly.
NEWS about Run II
On April 5th 2015 Run II starts: some of the first splashes events recorded by CMS are shown in the pictures below.
June-November 2015 proton-proton physics at 13 TeV
April-October 2016 proton-proton physics production at 13 TeV
November 2016 proton-lead ion physics at 5 and 8 TeV
April-December 2017 proton-proton physics production at 13 TeV
April-December 2018 proton-proton physics production at 13 TeV
Long Shutdown 2 2019-2020