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Rack of servers in the CERN Data Centre (Image: CERN)

The research programme at CERN covers topics from kaons khổng lồ cosmic rays, và from the Standard mã sản phẩm to supersymmetry

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ALICE detects quark-gluon plasma, a state of matter thought to lớn have formed just after the Big Bang

(Image: CERN)

ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is a detector dedicated lớn heavy-ion physics at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It is designed to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities, where a phase of matter called quark-gluon plasma forms.

All ordinary matter in today’s universe is made up of atoms. Each atom contains a nucleus composed of protons và neutrons (except hydrogen, which has no neutrons), surrounded by a cloud of electrons. Protons và neutrons are in turn made of quarks bound together by other particles called gluons. No quark has ever been observed in isolation: the quarks, as well as the gluons, seem to lớn be bound permanently together and confined inside composite particles, such as protons and neutrons. This is known as confinement.

Collisions in the LHC generate temperatures more than 100 000 times hotter than the centre of the Sun. For part of each year the LHC provides collisions between lead ions, recreating in the laboratory conditions similar to lớn those just after the Big Bang. Under these extreme conditions, protons và neutrons "melt", freeing the quarks from their bonds with the gluons. This is quark-gluon plasma. The existence of such a phase và its properties are key issues in the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD), for understanding the phenomenon of confinement, & for a physics problem called chiral-symmetry restoration. The ALICE collaboration studies the quark-gluon plasma as it expands and cools, observing how it progressively gives rise to lớn the particles that constitute the matter of our universe today.

The ALICE collaboration uses the 10 000-tonne ALICE detector – 26 m long, 16 m high, và 16 m wide – to lớn study quark-gluon plasma. The detector sits in a vast cavern 56 m below ground close khổng lồ the village of St Genis-Pouilly in France, receiving beams from the LHC.

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The collaboration includes almost 2000 scientists from 174 physics institutes in 40 countries (April 2022).

Explore the Control Room for the ALICE experiment through Google Street View (Image: Google Street View)