NBC News, By Alan Boyle, April 5
Researchers have begun circulating beams of protons in the Large Hadron Collider after a two-year shutdown for upgrades — and they expect to ramp up quickly to reach uncharted frontiers in particle physics.
“Beam went smoothly through the whole machine. It’s fantastic to see it going so well after two years and such a major overhaul of the LHC,” Rolf Heuer, the director general of Europe’s CERN particle physics center, said Sunday in a statement.
The LHC’s control team sent waves of protons in both directions around the 17-mile-round (27-kilometer-round) ring, situated 300 feet (100 meters) beneath the French-Swiss border near Geneva. In the days ahead, the team will increase the energy of the proton beams and smash them together in the LHC’s detectors.
During its first run, the LHC’s collisions hit a top energy of 8 trillion electron volts, or 8 TeV. This time around, they’re due to rise to 13 TeV, close to the machine’s maximum design level.
CERN: Proton beams are back in the LHC
The LHC is entering its second season of operation. Thanks to the work done in the last two years, it will operate at unprecedented energy – almost double that of season 1 – at 6.5 TeV per beam. With 13 TeV proton-proton collisions expected before summer, the LHC experiments will soon be exploring uncharted territory.
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