The first superconducting magnet for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was lowered into the accelerator tunnel at 2.00 p.m. on Monday, 7th March. This is the first of the 1232 dipole magnets for the future collider, which measures 27 km in circumference and is scheduled to be commissioned in 2007. The date was thus a key one for CERN since the delivery of the 15 metre long dipole magnet weighing 35 tonnes to its final location marks the start of LHC installation.
The LHC will consist predominantly of superconducting dipole magnets, which are the most complex components of the machine. Their superconducting coil allows them to convey extremely high currents without any loss of energy. They are therefore able to produce very high magnetic fields in order to bend the trajectory of the protons that are accelerated at a speed close to the speed of light. The LHC will thus be the world’s most powerful accelerator. The collisions between the protons will reach energies of 14 teraelectronvolts (TeV), 70 times higher than those of the former LEP collider for which the 27 km tunnel was originally built. To reach the superconducting state, the magnets have to be cooled to a temperature of -271°C, close to absolute zero. If the LHC had been made of conventional magnets, it would have needed to be 120 km long to achieve the same energies and its electricity consumption would have been phenomenal.
These superconducting magnets will all be lowered 50 metres down below the earth’s surface via a specially made shaft of oval cross-section. They will then be conveyed through a transfer tunnel to the LHC tunnel, which lies at a depth varying between 50 and 150 metres. Vehicles travelling at 3 km an hour have been specially designed to deliver the magnets to their final destination. The narrowness of the tunnel complicates these handling operations, making it impossible, for example, for two loads to pass each other.
Renilde Vanden Broeck | alfa
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At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
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