Our mission

The ALICE Collaboration has built a detector optimized to study the collisions of nuclei at the ultra-relativistic energies provided by the LHC.  The aim is to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at the highest energy densities reached so far in the laboratory. In such condition, an extreme phase of matter - called the quark-gluon plasma - is formed. Our universe is thought to have been in such a primordial state for the first few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, before quarks and gluons were bound together to form protons and neutrons. Recreating this primordial state of matter in the laboratory and understanding how it evolves will allow us to shed light on questions about how matter is organized and the mechanisms that confine quarks and gluons. For this purpose, we are carrying out a comprehensive study of the hadrons, electrons, muons and photons produced in the collisions of heavy nuclei. ALICE is also studying proton-proton and proton-nucleus collisions both as a comparison with nucleus-nucleus collisions and in their own right.  The heavy nucleus used is lead (208Pb). ALICE is completing in 2021 a significant upgrade of its detector to further enhance its capabilities and continue its scientific journey at the LHC for many years to come.