We use cookies on our website. Find out about our cookie policy here.Continue

Open seven days a week, 10.00-18.00. Entry to the Museum is free.

Meet the LHC detectors

Discover the huge detectors, made of delicate components, that capture the sub-atomic particles from the LHC collisions.

Detecting particles

At four points on the LHC ring, the relatively narrow tunnel housing the collider opens up into a vast underground cavern. These huge concrete spaces house the four LHC detectors, effectively super-sized digital cameras that record the millions of collisions produced by the LHC every second.

Diagram from ATLAS showing possible Higgs event Candidate Higgs event in ATLAS detector. © CERN
Man next to large particle detector
The ATLAS detector. © CERN

ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS)

ATLAS is one of CERN’s two 'general purpose' detectors, designed to investigate a wide range of physics – from dark matter particles to the hunt for the Higgs boson.

Sat in a cavern 100m underground, ATLAS is the largest detector ever built. Weighing in at 7,000 tonnes, its dimensions are staggering: 46m long, 25m high and 25m wide. The detector produces enough data to fill 100,000 CDs every second, but because of its sophisticated 'trigger' system it records only potentially interesting data – amounting to averagely 27 CDs per minute.

Video: VELO, the vertex locator module

Hear Collider curator Dr Harry cliff introduce one of the exhbition's most beautiful objects: the vertex locator (VELO) module from CERN's LHCb detector.


Explore related stories Explore related objects Explore related people