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Detector challenges at the LHC


The best way to study the existence of the Higgs boson, supersymmetry and grand unified theories, and perhaps the physics of dark matter and dark energy, is at the TeV scale. This is the energy scale that will be explored at the Large Hadron Collider. This machine will generate the energy and rate of collisions that might provide evidence of new fundamental physics. It also brings with it the formidable challenge of building detectors that can record a large variety of detailed measurements in the inhospitable environment close to the collisions points of the machine.

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Figure 1: Detector design.
Figure 2: Tracking systems.
Figure 3: Calorimetry: different approaches.
Figure 4: Final integration.
Figure 5: Going underground.


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This review article is largely based on the very complete documentation already existing for the ATLAS, CMS and LHCb experiments, and on refs 1–8 in particular. Furthermore, with around 5,000 scientists involved in the construction of the experiments described, I can only cover a small part of the challenges, excitement and difficulties involved in making them a reality. The best I can do is therefore to acknowledge all of the members of these collaborations, and in particular those who have helped me with corrections and comments, and apologize for all the dedicated sub-projects and work I had to leave out of this review.

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Stapnes, S. Detector challenges at the LHC. Nature 448, 290–296 (2007).

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