Photomultiplier tubes in the upper box of the LHCb experiment's RICH 1 detector
RICH stands for Ring Imaging CHerenkov (Image: CERN)

The Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment specializes in investigating the slight differences between matter and antimatter by studying a type of particle called the "beauty quark", or "b quark".

Instead of surrounding the entire collision point with an enclosed detector as do ATLAS and CMS, the LHCb experiment uses a series of subdetectors to detect mainly forward particles – those thrown forwards by the collision in one direction. The first subdetector is mounted close to the collision point, with the others following one behind the other over a length of 20 metres.

An abundance of different quark types are created by the LHC before they decay quickly into other forms. To catch the b quarks, LHCb has developed sophisticated movable tracking detectors close to the path of the beams circling in the LHC.

The 5600-tonne LHCb detector is made up of a forward spectrometer and planar detectors. It is 21 metres long, 10 metres high and 13 metres wide, and sits 100 metres below ground near the town of Ferney-Voltaire, France. About 1400 scientists, engineers and technicians from 18 countries make up the LHCb collaboration (January 2021).