Its back, the Large Hadron Collider is again smashing proton particles with renewed vigor after 2 years of upgrades and should be performing better now after its very successful run in 2013.
The upgrade is expected to improve its energy levels higher compared to its previous performances. The coming collision experiments will be carried out as usual at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, where the European nuclear research facility is located.
There were beams of protons fired for the first time in opposite directions, traversing the entire 17-mile circumference of the LCH 450 performing flawlessly using gigaelectronvolts (GeV) of energy.
The energy target of CERN is 6.5 teraelectronvolts (TeV) per beam to yield collisions at 13 TeV.
The first test collision was carried out on Tuesday, sending subatomic fragments into the LHC’s gigantic detectors.
“It’s a nice milestone today,” said Dave Charlton, spokesperson for the multipurpose Atlas detector. “There were a lot of smiling faces in the control room today.”
Aside from Atlas, the LHC is utilizing three other detectors – CMS, Alice, and LHCb – all registering collisions in the new tests.
Using low power collisions initially will allow the attending physicists to tune up and recalibrate the LHC in preparation for the succeeding experiments in the days to come.
“So just as the LHC team tests each component, system, and algorithm one after the other, the experiments go through checklists that confirm that everything is fully functional and no mistakes, bugs or failures are present when collisions are delivered at 13 TeV,” CERN said in a release.
It was in 2012 when the LCH made headlines after it discovered the Higgs Boson particles that governs the Standard Model of Physics by adding mass to the other basic particles.
Scientists are expecting to shed more light on dark matter by using the new high power LHC for performing new experiments. They want to find out why there is more dark matter compared to antimatter.
The testing of the LHC is already halfway done and is expected to last for 2 months. All systems are undergoing evaluation to ensure smooth and continuous collision experiments which are targeted to start this coming June.
The design, construction, and operation of the LHC involved scientists coming from over 100 countries, including hundreds of universities and labs.