Skip to main content

World’s largest particle collider is now even more powerful

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world-famous particle accelerator which was used to discover the Higgs boson particle in 2012, has restarted after a three-year break to perform maintenance and upgrades. The accelerator can now resume its work to uncover more about the constituent particles of the universe.

The Large Hadron Collider tunnel at point 1.
The LHC tunnel at point 1. CERN

The LHC is housed in a 17-mile circumference tunnel beneath the border of France and Switzerland and was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). On Friday, 22 April, it shot two beams of protons at each other with an energy of 450 billion electronvolts (450 GeV).

“These beams circulated at injection energy and contained a relatively small number of protons,” said Rhodri Jones, the head of CERN’s Beams Department, in a statement. “High-intensity, high-energy collisions are a couple of months away. But first beams represent the successful restart of the accelerator after all the hard work of the long shutdown.”

The three year maintenance period, called Long Shutdown or LS2, began in December 2018 and included improvements to the accelerators which should allow even higher energy beams to be produced, of up to 6.8 TeV per beam. The magnets that direct and focus the particle beams have been fitted with an improved electrical insulation system as well, and some of the magnets have been replaced.

Overall, the improvements to the LHC will allow the particle accelerator to work at higher energies, and also to perform more frequent collisions. The researchers working with the accelerator hope this will enable them to learn more about the Higgs boson particle and to further test the Standard Model of physics which describes three of the four fundamental forces: Electromagnetic, weak nuclear, and strong nuclear forces.

“The machines and facilities underwent major upgrades during the second long shutdown of CERN’s accelerator complex,” said Mike Lamont, CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology. “The LHC itself has undergone an extensive consolidation program and will now operate at an even higher energy and, thanks to major improvements in the injector complex, it will deliver significantly more data to the upgraded LHC experiments.”

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC
cern particle collider future circular

Designing the Future Circular Collider

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the organization that brought us the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the Higgs Boson particle, is aiming to one-up itself with an even larger and more powerful circular particle collider. The proposed Future Circular Collider will eventually replace the LHC and pave the way for extensive particle physics research through the 21st century.

Read more
With new autonomous train, Australia is now home to the world’s largest robot
robot train australia autohaul first run1

When you hear that the world’s largest robot has gone live in Australia, your mind might conjure up something like an anime-style giant mech. In fact, the announcement comes from iron ore mining company Rio Tinto, which recently launched its fully automated rail network: A series of mine-to-port trains able to run completely free from human intervention. These AutoHaul trains travel an approximately 800-kilometer return journey, taking 40 hours to complete, including loading and dumping their cargo. The rail network is set up in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

“This is a world first,” a spokesperson for Rio Tinto told Digital Trends. “It is the first fully autonomous, long-distance, heavy-haul rail network in the world. The successful deployment is the culmination of a $940 million project and has the potential to transform the productivity and flexibility of the 1,700-kilometer network between our 16 iron ore mines and two ports.”

Read more
Intel’s 2019 NUC may get even more powerful, thanks to 9th-Gen Core i9 processor
Intel Hades Canyon NUC

Intel may be looking at refreshing its Next Unit of Computing, or NUC, in 2019 with updated internals to give its miniature lineup of desktop PCs a performance boost. Intel's NUCs are a great Windows-based alternative to Apple's Mac Mini, and both systems come in a compact footprint that doesn't take up much space on your desk. The new hardware will pack in Intel's latest 9th-Generation processors, which cram in as many as eight cores.

Intel may offer two separate lines for the NUC lineup next year, sporting either the Coffee Lake-H refresh or the Comet Lake-U processors, according to Wccftech. The Coffee Lake-H refresh will be part of the Ghost Canyon X line, while the Comet Lake-U will fall under the Frost Canyon X line.

Read more