This week at the LHC: Preparing for the first protons of 2010
After more than a month of preparation, the Large Hadron Collider could be circulating proton beams again as early as next week. Since the beginning of the new year, the Large Hadron Collider has been shut down to prepare the machinery for collisions at 7 TeV total energy (3.5 TeV per beam), the highest energy level ever attained by a particle accelerator.
This preparation has focused heavily on readying the LHC’s quench detection and protection systems, which keep the accelerator magnets from overheating. This has included replacing 4,000 connectors for cables and testing the magnets at increasing electrical levels up to six kiloamperes. For a closer look at the technical details of the winter shutdown, see the CERN Bulletin.
A few tests remain, including a careful check of the beam injection system and simultaneously powering the LHC’s more than 9,000 magnets. If all goes smoothly, the LHC will be well on its way to record-breaking collisions.
by Daisy Yuhas