LHC completes the circle
At a brief ceremony deep under the French countryside today, CERN Director General Robert Aymar sealed the last interconnect in the world’s largest cryogenic system, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This is the latest milestone in commissioning the LHC, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator.
The LHC’s cryogenic system has the task of cooling some 36 800 tonnes of material to a temperature of just 1.9 degrees above absolute zero (–271.3°C), colder than outer space. To do this, over 10 000 tonnes of liquid nitrogen and 130 tonnes of liquid helium will be deployed through a cryogenic system including over 40 000 leak-tight welds. Today’s ceremony marks the end of a two year programme of work to connect all the main dipole and quadrupole magnets in the LHC. This complex task included both electrical and fluid connections.
“This is a huge accomplishment,” said Lyn Evans, LHC project leader. “Now that it is done, we can concentrate on getting the machine cold and ready for physics.”
The LHC is a circular machine, 27 kilometres around and divided into eight sectors, each of which can be cooled down to its operating temperature of 1.9 degrees above absolute zero and powered-up individually. One sector was cooled down, powered and warmed up in the first half of 2007. This was an important learning process, allowing subsequent sectors to be tested more quickly.
“Over the coming months, we’ll be cooling down the remaining sectors,” said Evans. “Five sectors will be cooling by the end of 2007, with the remaining three joining them early next year.”
If all goes well, the first beams could be injected into the LHC in May 2008, and circulating beams established by June or July. With a project of this scale and complexity, however, the transition from construction to operation is a lengthy process.
“There is no big red button, and there are inevitably hurdles to be overcome as we bring the LHC into operation,” said Aymar, “Every part of the system has to be brought on stream carefully, with each sub-system and component tested and repaired if necessary.”
“There have been no show-stoppers so far,” added Evans. “For a machine of this complexity, things are going remarkably smoothly and we’re all looking forward to doing physics with the LHC next summer. If for any reason we have to warm up a sector, though,” he cautioned, “we’ll be looking at the end of summer rather than the beginning.”
Sophie Tesauri | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...