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International Symposium on very high energy cosmic interactions / LHCb: Recent results and future prospects for studies of cosmic ray interactions

The LHCb detector at the Large Hadron Collider is a general-purpose spectrometer that covers the pseudo-rapidity interval 2 < eta < 5. LHCb has two unique features that shed new light on cosmic ray interactions. Firstly, it is the only LHC detector with hadron identification capabilities in the forward rapidity region. LHCb can measure hadron multiplicity and energy flows in an important phase-space region for the simulation of air showers, which could greatly improve the accuracy of the cosmic-ray mass composition inferred from air shower observables. Secondly, LHCb has the capability of injecting noble gas into the interaction region with the SMOG system, which allows one to study collisions of the LHC beam with the gas acting as a fixed target. The flexible setup has been used to measure the anti-proton yield in collisions of a 6.5 TeV proton beam with helium gas. This timely result will help to improve the calculation of the conventional anti-proton flux from interactions of ordinary cosmic rays with interstellar matter, above which AMS recently observed an excess that has been interpreted as a signature of dark matter decays. Finally, LHCb has a strong analysis program of charmed mesons in proton-proton and proton-ion collisions. The results are already used to improve calculations of the high-energy neutrino flux produced by air showers, the main background for extraterrestrial neutrinos observed by IceCube. This talks discusses recent result from LHCb obtained in various beam configurations and the future of the fixed target program at LHCb.

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