After a hiatus of more than three years, the Large Hadron Collider is back.
Scientists turn off the particle accelerator in 2018 to allow updates (Serial number: 3/12/18). On April 22, protons once again circled the 27-kilometer-long ring of the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, located at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva.
The LHC is gradually coming out of hibernation. The researchers started the accelerator’s proton beams with relatively low energy, but will ramp up to collide protons with a planned record energy of 13.6 trillion electron volts. Previously, LHC collisions reached 13 trillion electron volts. Similarly, the beams start out weak, with relatively few protons, but will increase in intensity. And when you hit top speed, the improved throttle will pump out proton collisions more quickly than previous runs. Experiments at the LHC will begin taking data this summer.
Physicists will use this data to further characterize the Higgs’ Bosonthe particle discovered at the LHC in 2012 that reveals the origin of the mass of elementary particles (Serial number: 4/7/12). And researchers will be on the lookout for new particles or anything else that conflicts with the standard model, the theory of known particles and their interactions. For example, the researchers will continue the look for dark mattera mysterious substance that so far can only be observed for its gravitational effects on the cosmos (Serial number: 10/25/16).
After several years of operations, the LHC will shut down again to prepare for the high luminosity LHC (Serial number: 06/15/18), which will further boost the rate of proton collisions and enable even more detailed studies of the fundamental constituents of matter.