lundi 30 octobre 2017

LHC reaches 2017 targets ahead of schedule

CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

30 Oct 2017

Image above: Trillions of protons race around the LHC’s 27km ring in opposite directions more than 11,000 times a second, travelling at 99.9999991 per cent the speed of light. (Image: Max Brice and Julien Ordan/CERN).

Today, CERN Control Centre operators announced good news, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has successfully met its production target for 2017, delivering more than 45 inverse femtobarns* to the experiments.

This achievement was all the more impressive as it was ahead of schedule. The LHC still has 19 more days of proton collisions, continuing to provide physics data to the experiments. Yet earlier this year it looked unlikely that this target would be achieved. An issue had developed with a small group of magnets known as 16L2 that was affecting machine performance. Then, early September, thanks to effective and creative collaboration between different teams around CERN, alternative ways to deal with the technical issue were developed that made the LHC and its injector chain reach top performances again. In addition, by the end of September, the 2017 production run was shortened by advancing special runs planned for 2018 to 2017, putting yet more pressure on the operators to deliver in a smaller timeframe.

Graphic above: The LHC has outperformed its target for 2017, delivering more collisions than expected to LHC experiments. (Credit: CERN).

None-the-less with the target met, as well as another recent milestone of reaching twice the design luminosity, the LHC has once again shown its excellence. That being said, physicists are already looking to upgrades tens of years in the future and the physics potential that they bring. Today at CERN, scientists are gathering to begin a three-day workshop to review, extend and further refine understanding of the physics potential of the High Luminosity LHC – the planned upgrade of the LHC – and even beyond.

In the more immediate future, once the main proton physics run end this year, the LHC will have 15 days of special runs plus machine development before its winter shutdown begins on 11 December. At that point, the “Year-end technical stop” (YETS) will be used to help consolidate and improve the machine, ahead of its restart in spring 2018.

* The inverse femtobarn (fb-1) is the unit of measurement for integrated luminosity, indicating the cumulative number of potential collisions. One inverse femtobarn corresponds to around 80 million million collisions.


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.

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Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Kate Kahle.

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