jeudi 13 avril 2017

The accelerators awaken

CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

April 13, 2017

Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Image Credit: CERN

Just like a bear after its winter sleep, CERN’s big machines are gradually awakening after the extended year-end technical stop (EYETS). The first beams for 2017 are expected to circulate in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in early May, but before that the accelerator complex and all the experiments that it serves have to be put back into operation, one after the other.

In the first week of April, the Linear accelerator 2 (Linac 2), starting point of the protons used in experiments at CERN, successfully accelerated its first proton beam, and made it ready to be sent to the Proton Synchrotron Booster (PSB).

On 10 April, the PSB was also restarted. As the second element of the chain, the PSB increases the energy of the beam received from Linac 2 and sends alternatively it to the Proton Synchrotron (PS) and to the Isotope mass Separator On-Line facility (ISOLDE).

The accelerators awaken. CERN

Video above: The ISOLDE facility has gathered unique expertise in research with radioactive beams. Over 700 isotopes of more than 70 elements have been used in a wide range of research domains, from cutting edge nuclear structure studies, through nuclear astrophysics, to solid state and life sciences. Video Credit: CERN.

The next step is to put the Proton Synchrotron (PS) back in operation on 17 April. It is the oldest accelerator still in service and currently the third component in the accelerator complex. It pushes the beams to even higher energy and sends them to the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), last element of the accelerator chain before the LHC. It also feeds the East Area where the Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD) experiment is situated, the Antiproton Decelerator, and the neutron time-of-flight facility (n_TOF).
The accelerators awaken. CERN

Video above: The purpose of n_TOF is to study neutron-nucleus interactions, which play a key role in neutron-related processes, important in a wide range of context, from astrophysics, to hadrontherapy (the treatment of tumors with beams of hadrons), and the development of retreatment of nuclear waste. Video Credit: CERN.


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC):

Separator On-Line facility (ISOLDE):

Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD):

Antiproton Decelerator:

Neutron time-of-flight facility (n_TOF):

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit:

Image (mentioned), Videos (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Iva Raynova.

Best regards,

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