Collider physics

Since 1993, the IFAE-ATLAS group has made major contributions to the construction of the ATLAS detector and its trigger system, the reconstruction software, and preparatory physics studies. Using the data collected by the ATLAS experiment during Run 1 (2010-2012) and Run 2 (2015-2018) of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the IFAE group has carried out a strong physics program.

ATLAS is the largest general-purpose detector at LHC to investigate a wide range of physics, from the Higgs boson to extra dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter. IFAE has made many important contributions to ATLAS and had a central role in the design, construction and commissioning of the Tile hadronic Calorimeter (TileCal) and in the Trigger System, specially in the High Level Trigger (with I. Riu in several coordination positions).

IFAE has deployed a strong and rich physics analysis program, leading many high-profile analyses and starting novel research directions. While IFAE researchers represent 1% of the whole Collaboration, IFAE directly contributed to 7% of the publications during 2018-2022. IFAE researchers have held a number of coordination positions. Since 2017, seven IFAE researchers have been appointed conveners of various physics subgroups. During 2020-2022 A. Juste was convener of the ATLAS Exotics group, leading a team of about 600 scientists, and on March 2023 he started as Deputy Chair of the Publications Committee (PubCom) for one year, and will become the Chair for the following year. Among other tasks, the PubCom Chair is responsible for overseeing the review and approval of all ATLAS publications. Since 2022, J. Montejo, a new RyC researcher that joined IFAE in 2023, is convener of the ATLAS SUSY group.

In collaboration with the National Microelectronics Centre (CNM), IFAE led the development of the ultra-radiation-hard 3D silicon pixel sensors, arguably the most demanding piece of instrumentation of ATLAS. IFAE provided 3D sensors for the innermost pixel layer (IBL), installed in the current tracker in 2014, and for the ATLAS Forward Protons (AFP) tracking system (2016-2020). IFAE is deeply involved in two of the key improvements of the ATLAS detectors towards the high luminosity LHC era (HL-LHC, due to start in 2029): the new pixel tracker (ITk) and the High Granularity Timing Detector (HGTD). An IFAE coordinates the ITk Pixel sensor group and the institute is fabricating the first modules for its innermost layer. IFAE has been deeply involved in all the stages of HGTD and S. Grinstein acts as co-Project Leader since 2020.

A collaboration between CERN and Spanish centers ICMAB, UPC, ALBA Synchrotron and IFAE was established in 2016 to evaluate high-temperature superconducting coated conductors (HTS-CC) for the beam screens of the Future Circular Collider (FCC-hh). The work, funded by CERN, has been extended to build a proof-of-concept FCC-hh beam screen device based on HTS-CC.

IFAE has always held high-visibility governance positions, in the Collaboration Board (2 chairs), the Publication Committee (3 members, 1 chair), and the Speakers’ Committee (1 member, 2 chairs), and the Speakers’ Committee Advisory Board (1 member, 1 chair).