The ATLAS detector has being built to study proton-proton collisions at a center of mass energy of 14 TeV, seven times higher than previous facilities. It has an excellent chance for discovering the source of electroweak symmetry breaking (the Higgs boson) and possibly new forms of matter such as supersymmetric states. The lighest supersymmetric state is a prime candidate for the dark matter and supersymmetry is an essential ingredient of many attractive theories.
This detector is now in operation at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Since 2010 it has been operating at a center of mass energy of 7 TeV and will double its energy in 2013. The Chicago group built much of the readout electronics for the hadron calorimeter (TileCal) and is currently involved in preparing an upgrade to the trigger system (FTK) used to identify interesting interactions to be recorded. The group is heavily involved in analysing the data taken by the experiment.
The Chicago group consists of six faculty members together with research personnel and students. Many of the members of the group are in full time residence at CERN, with the rest in Chicago. The physics analysis of the group is supported by a powerful computing facility which includes an ATLAS Tier 3 computing system dedicated to Chicago physicists, and one of the five US ATLAS Tier 2 facilities.