LHC is serious

First particle collisions planned at seven teraelectronvolts

A look into the tracking sensor of the CMS, one of the four large detectors of the LHC © CERN
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The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Research Center CERN will reach another important milestone today: For the first time, two proton beams with an energy of seven teraelectronvolts (TeV) will collide - 3.5 TeV per beam.

"With this high energy, CERN launches the actual research program at the LHC, " explains Professor Volker Büscher from the University of Mainz. Never before have such high energies been generated in a particle accelerator. The plan is to operate the machine at seven TeV over the next one and a half to two years, before moving to even higher energies. The University of Mainz involves around 50 physicists in research at the LHC.

Energy continuously increased

The 27-kilometer accelerator near Geneva returned to service after an initial breakdown on November 20, 2009. Since then, the energy has been continuously increased from 0.9 TeV to 2.36 TeV. Thus, the LHC also set the previous world record mark of 1.96 TeV, set up by Tevatron near Chicago.

At seven TeV, the largest machine ever built will cause particles to collide in the next few years and record and analyze the decay products. One of the great hopes of the scientists involved is to find the Higgs particle and thus the missing building block to explain the structure of the matter.

The researchers of the working group Experimental Particle and Astroparticle Physics (ETAP) of the University of Mainz are particularly involved in the ATLAS experiment, one of the four major experiments at the LHC. ATLAS is a detector - 46 meters long, 25 meters high and 25 meters wide. He will determine and precisely measure the new particles that are formed during proton collisions. display

Trigger as the heart of the ATLAS detector

The Mainz team has developed and built a central part of the detector with the so-called L1 calorimeter trigger. The trigger checks 40 million times a second for an interesting reaction.

"So the trigger is the heart of the detector, " says Professor Stefan Tapprogge. During the one-month run in 2009, the device rated over one million particle collisions as interesting so they were recorded. The first analyzes of the ATLAS experiment were also conducted with the participation of Mainz scientists and were presented on 16 March and submitted for publication.

(idw - University Mainz, 30.03.2010 - DLO)