Evidence for light-by-light scattering in heavy-ion collisions with the ATLAS detector at the LHC

Journal: Nature Physics

Published: 2017-08-14

DOI: 10.1038/nphys4208

Affiliations: 292

Authors: 2847

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Research Highlight

Lighting the path to a better understanding of matter

© MirageC/Moment/Getty

© MirageC/Moment/Getty

Physicists have used collisions between lead ions to observe light being scattered by light, paving the way for a better understanding of the properties of matter, according to a study published in Nature Physics.

The phenomenon, called light-by-light scattering, is impossible in classical physics because particles of light, or photons, carry no charge. Quantum physics predicts the possibility of photon-photon interactions, but so far their detection has remained elusive.

Using data from the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider, an international team of physicists, including researchers from the University of Cape Town, sifted through more than four billion events resulting from the collisions of lead ions and have identified 13 that could be two photons interacting with each other.

This finding could lead to more precise measurements of light-by-light scattering, and could yield the discovery of new particles.

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  1. Nature Physics 13, 852–858 (2017). doi: 10.1038/nphys4208
Institutions FC
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland 0.04
German Electron Synchrotron (DESY), Germany 0.02
Institute of Physics (PI), Uni Bonn, Germany 0.02
Department of Physics, BNL, United States of America (USA) 0.02
Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Uni Freiburg, Germany 0.02
Institute of Physics (IPH), JGU, Germany 0.01
Physics Division, LBNL, United States of America (USA) 0.01
National Institute for Subatomic Physics (Nikhef), Netherlands 0.01
Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP), Germany 0.01
Center for Particle Physics of Marseilles (CPPM), France 0.01
Laboratory of the Linear Accelerator (LAL), France 0.01
Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), Russia 0.01
School of Physics and Astronomy, UoM, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
International Center for Elementary Particle Physics (ICEPP), UTokyo, Japan 0.01
CEA Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (IRFU), France 0.01
Oxford Department of Physics, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), Japan 0.01
Institute for Corpuscular Physics (IFIC), Spain 0.01
Department of Physics, U-M, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Faculty of Physics, LMU, Germany 0.01
School of Physics and Astronomy, UB, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE), BIST, Spain 0.01
Département de Physique Nucléaire et Corpusculaire (DPNC), UNIGE, Switzerland 0.01
II. Institute of Physics, University of Göttingen, Germany 0.01
Laboratory Nuclear and High-Energy Physics (LPNHE), France 0.01
University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
INFN Section in Bologna, Italy 0.01
Kirchhoff-Institute for Physics (KIP), Uni Heidelberg, Germany 0.01
Department of Physics, University of Wuppertal, Germany 0.01
Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP), CAS, China 0.01
Laboratoire d'Annecy-le-Vieux de Physique des Particules (LAPP), France 0.01
Oliver Lodge Laboratory, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics (IFJ PAN), PAS, Poland 0.01
Stanford SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Department of Physics, UIUC, United States of America (USA) 0.01
INFN Section in Roma, Italy 0.01
Department of Physics, Lancaster University, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Enrico Fermi Institute (EFI), UChicago, United States of America (USA) 0.01
INFN Section in Milano, Italy 0.01
STFC Department of Particle Physics, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN HH), Romania 0.01
School of Physics, UniMelb, Australia 0.01
Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU), Czech Republic 0.01
Department of Modern Physics, USTC, China 0.01
Department of Physics, Penn State, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Department of Physics, U of T, Canada 0.01
UiO Department of Physics, Norway 0.01
Department of Physics, RHUL, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Department of Physics and Astronomy, UVic, Canada 0.01
Department of Particle Physics and Astrophysics, WIS, Israel 0.01
Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP), UCSC, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Faculty of Mathematics and Physics (FMP), CU, Czech Republic 0.01
UTA Department of Physics, United States of America (USA) 0.01
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Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy, TAU, Israel 0.01
Harvard Laboratory for Particle Physics and Cosmology (LPPC), United States of America (USA) 0.01
Nevis Laboratories, CU, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Institute for High Energy Physics (IHEP), NRCKI, Russia 0.01
National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute), Russia 0.01
Department of Physics, NTUA, Greece 0.01
Oregon Center for High Energy Physics, UO, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique et de Cosmologie (LPSC), France 0.01
Department of Physics and Astronomy (PA), MSU, United States of America (USA) 0.01
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Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics (LIP), Portugal 0
OU Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, United States of America (USA) 0
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Yale Department of Physics, United States of America (USA) 0
Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics (OKC), Sweden 0
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NYU Department of Physics, United States of America (USA) 0
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Louisiana Tech University, United States of America (USA) 0
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