Particle physics research

The Large Hadron Collider restarts after a three-year upgrade

Image: Julien Herzog [CC BY-SA 3.0]via Wikimedia Commons

‘Major’ upgrade means Collider can reach ‘unprecedented’ number of collisions

The Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator has been restarted by Europe’s intergovernmental organization for nuclear research, CERN, after a three-year hiatus for maintenance and upgrades.

Located near Geneva, the LHC has been shut down to make it even more powerful and capable of performing an “unprecedented” number of particle collisions so researchers can explore fundamental questions in physics.

On April 22, two beams of protons again circulated around the 27 km LHC ring, CERN announced.

“Machinery and facilities underwent major upgrades during the second long shutdown of the CERN accelerator complex,” said the organization’s director for accelerators and technology, Mike Lamont.

“The LHC itself has undergone an extensive consolidation program and will now operate at even higher energy and, thanks to major improvements in the injector complex, it will provide much more data to the LHC experiments. modernized.”

High-energy collisions are still a few months away, as scientists will gradually increase the capacity of the machine.

The circulating proton beams mark the start of preparations for four years of data collection, which should start this summer with the LHC’s third run.

CERN said the upgrades mean an “unprecedented” number of collisions will allow physicists to study the fundamental Higgs boson particle in more detail and submit the so-called Standard Model of particle physics to its “most rigorous tests to date”.

It also announced that it had started construction of a new energy-efficient data center in Prévessin, France, which will play a “vital” role in meeting the computing needs of LHC upgrades.