ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC AparatuS ) is a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The ATLAS detector is searching for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. ATLAS will learn about the basic forces that have shaped our Universe since the beginning of time and that will determine its fate. Among the possible unknowns are the origin of mass, extra dimensions of space, unification of fundamental forces, and evidence for dark matter candidates in the Universe.
The first image is an schematic of the ATLAS detector. The size of the detector is approximately the size of a five story building, also note the 2 humans depicted in the schematic for size comparison. Each component of the ATLAS detector has been designed and optimized for the detection of a special set of particles. The image below is a representation of each one of the layers of the ATLAS components which are particularly setup such that all particles go through different layers.
The ATLAS detector provides information about the collision products for each proton-proton collision. The information produced from these collisions should be processed very rapidly. Billions of collisions occur in just one second, but only 10 to 100 of those are saved for further study.
For further information visit the ATLAS website.