The Latest from ATLAS

Since November 2008, ATLAS has undertaken detailed maintenance, consolidation and repair work on the detector (see Bulletin of 20 July 2009). Today, the fraction of the detector that is operational has increased compared to last year: less than 1% of dead channels for most of the sub-systems. "We are going to start taking data this year with a detector which is even more efficient than it was last year," agrees ATLAS Spokesperson, Fabiola Gianotti.

By mid-September the detector was fully closed again, and the cavern sealed. The magnet system has been operated at nominal current for extensive periods over recent months. Once the cavern was sealed, ATLAS began two weeks of combined running. Right now, subsystems are joining the run incrementally until the point where the whole detector is integrated and running as one. In the words of ATLAS Technical Coordinator, Marzio Nessi: "Now we really start physics."

In parallel, the analysis of cosmic data collected last year has allowed ATLAS to perform detailed alignment and calibrations studies, with a precision far beyond anyone’s expectations for this stage of the experiment.

On 12 October, things will really get going for ATLAS. The Control Room will be staffed 24/7 and ATLAS will take cosmic data continuously until first beam. During this time, the alignment, calibration, timing and performance of the detector will be studied, and shifters will settle into their working patterns.

"Everybody here is eager to jump on the first data and extract the physics results," says Gianotti.

ATLAS Collaboration