(ORDO NEWS) — Ten years after the discovery of the Higgs boson, the Large Hadron Collider is about to start colliding protons at unprecedented levels of energy in a bid to unlock more secrets about how the universe works.
The world’s largest and most powerful particle collider returned to service in April after a three-year hiatus for upgrades in preparation for a third launch.
From Tuesday, it will operate around the clock for nearly four years with a record energy of 13.6 trillion electron volts, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said at a press briefing last week.
It will send two beams of protons – particles in the nucleus of an atom – in opposite directions at almost the speed of light along a 27-kilometer (17-mile) ring buried 100 meters under Swiss territory. French border.
The resulting collisions will be recorded and analyzed by thousands of scientists in a host of experiments, including ATLAS, CMS, ALICE and LHCb, which will use increased power to investigate dark matter. dark energy and other fundamental mysteries.
1.6 billion collisions per second
“We aim to provide 1.6 billion proton-proton collisions per second” for the ATLAS and CMS experiments, CERN head Mike Lamont said of the accelerators and technology.
This time, the proton beams will be narrowed to less than 10 microns (the thickness of a human hair is about 70 microns) to increase the collision frequency, he added.
The new energy level will allow them to continue their study of the Higgs boson, which was first observed at the Large Hadron Collider on July 4th. y 2012.
The discovery revolutionized physics in part because the boson fits into the Standard Model, the underlying theory of all the fundamental particles that make up matter and the forces that govern them.
However, several recent discoveries have raised questions about the Standard Model, and the recently upgraded collider will allow a deeper study of the Higgs boson.
“The Higgs boson is linked to some of the deepest open questions in fundamental physics today,” said CERN CEO Fabiola Gianotti, who first announced the discovery of the boson a decade ago.
Compared to the first run of the collider, during which a boson was discovered, this time there will be 20 times more. collisions.
“This is significant growth, paving the way for new discoveries,” Lamont said.
Joachim Mnich, head of research and computing at CERN, said there is still a lot to learn about the boson.
“Is the Higgs boson really a fundamental particle, or is it a compound one?” – he asked.
“Is this the only Higgs-like particle in existence, or are there others?”
‘New Season of Physics’
Past experiments have determined the mass of the Higgs boson, as well as more than 60 constituent particles predicted by the Standard Model, such as the tetraquark.
But Gian Giudice, head of CERN’s Department of Theoretical Physics, said observing particles is just part of the job.
“Particle physics doesn’t just want to understand how – our goal is to understand why,” he said.
Among the nine experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are ALICE, which explores matter that existed in the first 10 microseconds after the Big Bang, and LHCf, which uses collisions to simulate cosmic rays.
After this launch, the collider will return in 2029 as a high-brightness LHC, increasing the number of detected events by 10 times.
In addition, scientists are planning a future circular collider, a 100-kilometer ring that aims to achieve e energy of a whopping 100 trillion electron volts.
But now physicists are eagerly waiting for the results of the third launch of the Large Hadron Collider.
“The new season of physics is starting,” CERN said. .
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