CERN gears up to relaunch high energy particle collider
Europe's physics lab CERN said Friday it was on schedule to fire up the world's biggest particle smasher again early next year, with almost double the energy of its previous run.
CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) went offline in February 2013 for an 18-month overhaul after identifying what is believed to be the Higgs boson, the long-sought maker of mass theorised in the 1960s.
The giant lab, housed in a 27-kilometre (17-mile) tunnel straddling the French-Swiss border, flushed out the so-called "God particle" by crashing proton beams at velocities near the speed of light.
The LHC is scheduled to reopen next March for a second three-year run, and the makeover is expected to nearly double the energy levels achieved in its collisions.
"With this new energy level, the LHC will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries," CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said in a statement.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what nature has in store for us," he added.
Earlier this week a test had been conducted in one eighth of the circular lab, in which the magnets for the first time were successfully powered to the level needed for beams to reach 6.5 teraelectronvolts (TeV) -- the operating energy for the second run, CERN said.
"The goal for 2015 will be to run with two proton beams in order to produce 13 TeV collisions, an energy never achieved by any accelerator in the past," it said.
© 2014 AFP