Looking forward to photon–photon physics

As its name suggests, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN smashes hadrons into one another – protons, to be precise. The energy from these collisions gets converted into matter, producing new particles that allow us to explore matter at the smallest scales. The LHC does not fire protons into one another individually; instead, they are circulated in approximately 2000 bunches each containing around 100 billion protons. When two bunches are focused magnetically to cross each other in the centre of detectors such as CMS and ATLAS, only 30 or so protons actually collide. The rest continue to fly through the LHC unimpeded until the next time that two bunches cross.

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