Atom-smasher to run at partial power

7th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Large Hadron Collider will operate at half power when its restarts in November, said CERN on Thursday.

Geneva -- The world's biggest atom-smasher will operate below full power when its restarts in November, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said Thursday.

In a statement, CERN said no more repairs would be necessary for "safe running" in 2009 and 2010, after the 27-kilometre (17-mile) collider is switched back on.

Located inside a tunnel on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) aims to reveal information about the creation of the universe and the fundamental nature of matter.

But the machine was shut down nine days after it was started in September 2008 following a series of technical faults, and repairs are ongoing.

The LHC's components had been tested to an energy equivalent of five teraelectronvolts (50,000,000,000,000 electron volts) at full power.

"We've selected 3.5 teraelectronvolts to start because it allows the LHC operators to gain experience of running the machine while opening up a new discovery region for the experiments," said CERN's director general Rolf Heuer.

The first data should be collected a few weeks after the first particle beam is fired.

CERN said the partial power level will be kept until "a significant data sample has been gathered" and increased thereafter.

"The LHC is a much better understood machine than it was a year ago," said Heuer. "We can look forward with confidence and excitement to a good run through the winter and into next year."

The current maximum output of the largest functioning collider in the world, at the Fermilab near Chicago in the United States, is one teraelectronvolt.

Designed to clarify the origins of the universe, the LHC at CERN took nearly 20 years to complete and cost CHF 6 billion (EUR 3.9 billion, USD 4.9 billion) to build.

AFP / Expatica

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