World’s largest particle accelerator coming out of hibernation

23 June 2014
By Edd Gent
Mobile version
Share |
Some 10,000 superconducting magnet interconnections have been consolidated during the shutdown

Some 10,000 superconducting magnet interconnections have been consolidated during the shutdown

The world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), has started coming out of hibernation for a second run of experiments.

Over the last 16 months the LHC, buried beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland, has been through a major programme of maintenance and upgrades to double its beam collision energy from 7 teraelectronvolts (TeV) to nearly 14TeV, a move that could open the door to ground-breaking new discoveries.

Research is due to resume early in 2015, but the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern) announced today that cool down of the vast machine to its near-absolute zero operating temperature has already begun.

The accelerator chain that supplies the LHC’s particle beams is currently starting up, with beam in the proton synchrotron accelerator for the first time since 2012 last Wednesday.

There is a new buzz about the laboratory and a real sense of anticipation,” said Cern Director General Rolf Heuer, speaking at a press conference at the EuroScience Open Forum, ESOF, meeting in Copenhagen. “Much work has been carried out on the LHC over the last 18 months or so, and it’s effectively a new machine, poised to set us on the path to new discoveries.”

Some 10,000 superconducting magnet interconnections have been consolidated in order to prepare the LHC for running at its full design energy, with the last one closed on 18.

“The machine is coming out of a long sleep after undergoing an important surgical operation,” said Frédérick Bordry, Cern’s Director for Accelerators and Technology. “We are now going to wake it up very carefully and go through many tests before colliding beams again early next year. The objective for 2015 is to run the physics programme at 13 TeV.”

The four experiments collecting and analysing the data from the LHC’s collisions – including the ATLAS and CMS experiments that discovered the Higgs Boson in 2012 – have taken advantage of the long pause to upgrade their particle detectors in preparation for a fresh deluge of data.

“The discovery of a Higgs boson was just the beginning of the LHC’s journey,” said senior Cern physicist Fabiola Gianotti at the same press conference. “The increase in energy opens the door to a whole new discovery potential.”

Among the potential research avenues the new higher energy will facilitate are further studies on the Higgs boson and the potential to address unsolved mysteries such as dark matter and dark energy which are believed to make up about 95 per cent of the universe.

See also: Finding a successor to the world's largest science experiment

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1604

"Should the UK's engineers be in or out of Europe? The IET sets out its official position on the EU referendum this week - will you agree?"

->

E&T jobs

  • Solutions Engineer

    Bristol Water
    • United Kingdom
    • £41,000 - 49,000

    We serve a population of over one million people and all the associated businesses in an area of 1,000 square miles centered on Bristol.

    • Recruiter: Bristol Water

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Mechanical Engineer

    Bristol Water
    • United Kingdom
    • £41,000 - 49,000

    We serve a population of over one million people and all the associated businesses in an area of 1,000 square miles centered on Bristol.

    • Recruiter: Bristol Water

    Apply for this job

  • Software Renewals Manager

    BAE Systems
    • Preston, Lancashire, England
    • Negotiable

    Software Renewals Manager Would you like to work in a resourceful and developing role within IT Services? We currently have a vacancy for a Software Renewals Manager at our site in Preston Channel Way. As a Software Renewals Manager, you will be responsi

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Technical Manager

    Aggregate Industries
    • Hulland Ward, Ashbourne
    • Attractive salary plus comprehensive benefits

    A key Technical Manager role driving product improvement and compliance with Aggregate Industries, market leader in Construction Solutions.

    • Recruiter: Aggregate Industries

    Apply for this job

  • Field Application Engineer

    Intel
    • Madrid

    Responsible for giving product presentations to the customer describing how Intel products provide the optimum solution to their application.

    • Recruiter: Intel

    Apply for this job

  • Engineers and Scientists

    European Patent Office
    • Munich and The Hague
    • See job description

    We are looking for Engineers and scientists in various technical fields for our locations in Munich and The Hague.

    • Recruiter: European Patent Office

    Apply for this job

  • Director of Product Management

    EMS Recruitment Group
    • West Yorkshire
    • Circa £70,000 PA + car allowance, excellent benefits including lucrative bonus scheme

    Our client is the undoubted world leader in their field. A highly innovative and progressive specialist electro-mechanical product manufacturer....

    • Recruiter: EMS Recruitment Group

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Engineer

    Premium job

    Scottish Prison Service
    • Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh
    • £40,654 to £48,579 plus annual supplement of £10,000

    Build Your Engineering Career. The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is an Agency of the Scottish Government, working in partnership.....

    • Recruiter: Scottish Prison Service

    Apply for this job

  • Sales Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Precision Microdrives
    • London (Greater)
    • £25,000 - £30,000 starting salary, inclusive of on-target commissions.

    Precision Microdrives (PMD) is a fast growing technology company that designs, produces and trades miniature electro-mechanical mechanisms

    • Recruiter: Precision Microdrives

    Apply for this job

  • Installation and Commissioning Engineer

    Premium job

    Crest Solutions
    • Corby
    • Competitive

    You will be involved in installation, commissioning & servicing of printing and machine vision related solutions.

    • Recruiter: Crest Solutions

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T