Tuesday, June 29, 2010

LHC Smashes Beam Collision Record

Via BBC -

Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) say they have moved a step closer to their aim of unlocking the mysteries of the Universe.

The world's highest-energy particle accelerator has produced a record-breaking particle collision rate - about double the previous rate.

The collider is now generating around 10,000 particle collisions per second, according to physicist Andrei Golutvin.


Over the past few months, LHC engineers have slowly and carefully increased the energy and intensity of the proton beams which race around the collider's 27km-long "ring".

This weekend, engineers smashed together two beams consisting of three "bunches" of protons particles.

For the first time, these bunches were at "nominal" intensity - the intensity the LHC was designed to work at. This means each bunch consisted of as many as 100 billion protons.

The LHC smashed together its first two particle beams travelling at close to the speed of light in November 2009.

At the moment, it is running at half the energy it was designed for, but the scientists aim to take the machine to the top energy of seven tera-electronvolts (TeV) per beam by 2013.

Stationed around the collider's ring are four large experiments designed to study new physics - in a bid to shed light on the secrets of our Universe. These are Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), Atlas, Alice and LHCb, of which Dr Golutvin is chief scientist.

Scientists hope to find an elusive sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs boson, dubbed the "God particle", which explained why matter has mass.

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