The LHC has been shut down for two years of upgrades, and will resume operation in 2015.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and highest energy particle accelerator, has finished its first run period of three years. “We have every reason to be very satisfied with the LHC’s first three years, said the Director-General of CERN. “The machine, the experiments, the computing facilities and all infrastructures behaved brilliantly, and we have a major scientific discovery in our pocket.” In the next 12-24 months, major infrastructure upgrades and changes will occur across all of CERN’s facilities, but the LHC will be affected the most. “We’ll essentially be rebuilding the interconnections between LHC magnets, so when we resume running in 2015, we will be able to operate the machine at its design energy of 7 teraelectron volts (TeV) per beam,” said Steve Myers, CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology. In its first year, the LHC has produced much more data than expected – nearly 100 petabytes – the equivalent of 700 years of HD video. Analysis of only a fraction of this data has allowed scientists to make progress towards identifying the elusive Higgs-boson particle.
When they resume in 2015, the Large Hadron Collider will be able to run at a higher energy level than before, hopefully closer to its maximum potential energy of 14TeV. Long Shutdown 1 (LS1), has been part of the LHC plan from the beginning – no piece of equipment can survive the high levels of radiation and energy that the LHC puts out forever. “A whole series of renovation work will be carried out around the LHC during LS1,” said Simon Baird, the deputy head of CERN Engineering. “The key driver is of course the consolidation of the 10,170 high-current splices between the superconducting magnets. The teams will start by opening up the 1695 interconnections between each of the cryostats of the main magnets. They will repair and consolidate around 500 interconnections simultaneously. The maintenance work will gradually cover the entire 27-kilometre circumference of the LHC.”
CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, and the LHC is located underground on the border between France and Switzerland.