After a three-year hiatus, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator is back in business and already breaking records.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is operated by the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN) — is the world’s largest particle accelerator and consists of a 27-kilometre (17-mile) ring of superconducting magnets buried between the border of France and Switzerland. LHC uses these magnets to accelerate and bind protons and ions at nearly the speed of light, to help scientists understand particle physics, including the origin of mass. dark matter Y antimatteraccording CERN.
However, for the last three years, the LHC has been closed for maintenance and repairs.
“Machines and facilities underwent major upgrades during the second extended closure of CERN’s accelerator complex,” said Mike Lamont, Director of Accelerators and Technology at CERN. said in a statement. “The LHC itself has undergone an extensive consolidation program and will now run at even higher power and, thanks to major improvements to the injector complex, will provide much more data to the upgraded LHC experiments.”
Now, proton beams are flowing through the LHC again after its reopening on April 22, and the LHC upgrades are already bearing fruit.
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After just three days of reopening, two proton beams were sped up to record an energy of 6.8 trillion electron volts per beam, according to a video announcing the milestone. The previous record was produced during the second run of the LHC in 2015, when it reached energy levels of 6.5 TeV.
This pilot run is the precursor to the third major LHC run, scheduled for this summer, called LHC Run 3. LHC scientists are preparing to once again break the new record by surpassing an energy output of 13, 6 TeV, according to CERN. Along with colliding particles with higher energy, LHC scientists will collect data from more collisions than ever before. One of the experiments designed to study heavy ion collisions, called A Large Ion Collider Experiment (ALICE), can expect a “50-fold increase” in the number of ion collisions it can record thanks to the latest update, according to the CERN.
LHC Run 3 is expected to last three years until 2025, when it will again have a prolonged shutdown between 2026 and 2030, according to the LHC schedule.
Originally published on Live Science.