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Large Hadron Collider sets world record for beam intensity

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Large Hadron Collider sets world record for beam intensity

2011-04-22 16:07:08 GMT+7 (ICT)

GENEVA (BNO NEWS) -- The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest atom smasher, set a new world record for beam intensity on early Friday morning, its owner said.

The European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) said the record was set at around midnight local time when beams collided with a luminosity of 4.67 x 1032cm-2s-1, exceeding the previous world record of 4.024 x 1032cm-2s-1 which was set by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago last year.

"Beam intensity is key to the success of the LHC, so this is a very important step," said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. "Higher intensity means more data, and more data means greater discovery potential."

Luminosity gives a measure of how many collisions are happening in a particle accelerator. The higher the luminosity, the more particles are likely to collide. When looking for rare processes, this is important, CERN said. Higgs particles, for example, will be produced very rarely if they exist at all, so for a conclusive discovery or refutation of their existence, a large amount of data is required.

The current LHC run is scheduled to continue to the end of 2012. That will give scientists time to collect enough data to fully explore the energy range accessible with 3.5 TeV per beam collisions for new physics before preparing the LHC for higher energy running. By the end of the current running period, CERN expects to know whether or not the Higgs boson exists.

"There's a great deal of excitement at CERN today," said CERN's Director for Research and Scientific Computing, Sergio Bertolucci, "and a tangible feeling that we're on the threshold of new discovery."

After two weeks of preparing the LHC for this new level of beam intensity, the machine is now moving in to a phase of continuous physics running scheduled to last until the end of the year. There will then be a short technical stop, before physics running resumes for 2012.

The $10 billion LHC lies in a tunnel 27 kilometers (17 miles) in circumference beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. There were initial safety concerns before its controversial launch in September 2008, with wild speculation and fears that the machine could create a black hole and swallow the Earth.


-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-04-22

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