The goal of forward physics is to study particles produced at small angles (with respect to the direction of particles before the collision) in proton-proton or proton-ion collisions. Such measurements are sensitive to the structure of protons and to the properties of strong interactions. The research performed in our Department may shed more light for example on the problem of confinement of quarks inside protons.
The most important results include the measurement of total proton-proton cross-section at the LHC energies (see Phys. Lett. B (2016) 158 and Nuclear Physics, Section B (2014), pp. 486-548). These results have a very interesting interpretation: protons accelerated to higher energies get bigger and denser.
The present activities focus on the analysis of data collected with newly installed AFP detectors. The first result obtained using data collected in 2016 (ATL-PHYS-PUB-2017-012) was an observation (for the first time at the LHC accelerator) of diffractive jet production with a direct detection of the diffractive proton scattered at a very small angle.