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Sci - Tech

LHC sets new particle collision record

Wednesday - Apr 11, 2012, 02:29pm (GMT+5.5)
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London -The Large Hadron Collider has crushed its own world record by smashing protons together with a combined energy of 8 teraelectronvolts (TeV).

The world’s most powerful particle accelerator, based near Geneva, Switzerland, attain its record just after midnight local time on 5 April.

The previous world record was 7 TeV, the energy at which the LHC operated from March 2010 to last October, the New Scientist reported.

During that time protons zipped around the accelerator’s 27-kilometre-long loop at speeds high enough for each to carry 3.5 TeV, so that collisions between pairs carried an energy of 7 TeV.

That was enough energy for two of the LHC’s experiments to provide hints of the Higgs boson, the long-sought particle that would complete the standard model of particle physics, and explain how all other particles get their masses.

Now, with protons carrying 4 TeV apiece, the LHC has a better chance of creating the elusive beasts it was designed to find.

The increase in energy is all about maximising the discovery potential of the LHC. And in that respect, 2012 looks set to be a vintage year for particle physics, said research director Sergio Bertolucci, according to a CERN statement.

At the new, higher energy, the LHC should produce more Higgs bosons than before - though it will also create more background processes that could mimic the Higgs.

It will also stand a better chance of seeing still-theoretical particles predicted by supersymmetry, an extension of the standard model that suggests every particle has a heavier “superpartner” that will show up only at high energies.

The LHC will run at 8 TeV until the end of this year, when it will shut down for over a year. When it reopens in 2014, the protons will smash with combined energies of 13 TeV.


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