The quest to uncover new particles continues at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where physicists hope to find evidence of supersymmetric particles. According to the theory of supersymmetry, there are partner particles for each known fundamental particle. These supersymmetric particles could potentially explain numerous mysteries in science, such as the origin of dark matter and the behavior of certain forces. However, the challenge lies in locating these elusive particles within the vast expanse of the LHC.
In a groundbreaking study, the ATLAS collaboration analyzed proton-proton collision data from Run 2 of the LHC, spanning from 2015 to 2018. This comprehensive investigation aimed to uncover some of the rarest types of supersymmetric particles, those that are produced infrequently through the weak nuclear force or the electromagnetic force. Among this collection of particles, the lightest weakly interacting supersymmetric particle could potentially account for dark matter.
The advancements in collision energy, collision rate, search algorithms, and machine-learning techniques during Run 2 have propelled the exploration of this intricate realm of supersymmetry. ATLAS researchers compiled the outcomes of eight distinct searches, each targeting supersymmetric particles in a unique way. This multidimensional approach allowed for the examination of tens of thousands of supersymmetry models, each characterized by different predictions regarding the masses of these particles.
The amalgamation of various search strategies provided unparalleled sensitivity and broadened the range of supersymmetric particle masses that could be explored. ATLAS scientists relentlessly sought evidence of lab-created dark matter in LHC collisions, thus complementing other experiments investigating relic dark matter from the early universe. While collider searches can infer the presence of dark matter without directly observing it, other experiments rely on the likelihood of dark matter particles interacting with ordinary matter.
The collective searches by the ATLAS collaboration have yielded significant findings, including the virtual elimination of certain supersymmetric-particle mass regions that were previously deemed promising. Specifically, regions where the dark matter particle possessed approximately half the mass of the Z boson or the Higgs boson have now become nearly irrelevant in the search. This outcome aids in constraining the potential hiding spots for supersymmetric particles.
Furthermore, this comprehensive study has also shed light on the supersymmetry models that remain unexplored. ATLAS has showcased several surviving models that serve as a roadmap for future optimization of search protocols. Although the search for these particles seems endless, this deeper understanding of unprobed models offers hope for refining detection techniques and uncovering previously elusive particles.
Despite narrowing down the potential locales for supersymmetric particles, numerous models continue to elude scientists. The continued quest to enhance the sensitivity of ATLAS searches requires additional collision data and novel developments in search strategies. This unyielding journey represents a testament to the unwavering determination of the scientific community to decipher the mysteries of the universe.
The pursuit of supersymmetric particles at the Large Hadron Collider represents a critical chapter in the long and complex history of particle physics. The ATLAS collaboration’s tireless efforts to explore the most challenging aspects of supersymmetry have produced invaluable insights and eliminated once-promising possibilities. As physicists await the next phase of the LHC and the accumulation of more collision data, the search for supersymmetric particles continues, driven by the desire to unlock the secrets of our universe.