The Large Hadron ColliderThe Large Hadron Collider, also known as LHC, is a very massive functional scientific instrument used in physics and material science located at Geneva, Switzerland. It is used to help us understand matter, on the atomic level.
The studies being undertaken here is all about smallest particles, such as protons, electrons, neutrons, gluons, muons, etc – the fundamental building block of all matter. The Large Hadron Collider is an instrument resembling a circular tube. It is situated 100m below the ground and spans more than 27 kilometers (17 miles) in circumference. It spans the France – Switzerland border between the Jura mountain range and the Alps in Switzerland. It is built and funded by over ten thousand (10,000) physicists and material scientists worldwide, comprising of renowned institutions, laboratories and universities.
The LHC is the world’s highest energy particle accelerator. It is also the world’s largest, in terms of size, mass, and functionality. It is intended to accelerate and collide protons and lead ions at each other, traveling at 99.999999999% of that of the speed of light (2.99 x 108 m/s). The LHC was primarily built and maintained by CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), in English means European Council for Nuclear Research. This name was changed later on to European Organization for Nuclear Research (Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire), but the abbreviation CERN was still used.
CERM is an organization founded in 1954 as a collaborative group in which Physicists and Material Scientist primarily from Europe with help and support from leading scientists and physicist worldwide. This is the organization in which they collaborate and make researches regarding particle physics and material science. Thus, the LHC was born and built to satisfy their needs regarding these researches. The LHC will help particle physicists on understanding matter, from the miniscule subatomic particles to the vast universe. But how does this gigantic instrument really works? As the name implies, The LHC accelerates “Hadrons”. Hadrons are collective names used to identify Protons and Other Charged Ions.
In their experiment, Protons and Lead Ions were used and accelerated. The LHC is a 27 km accelerator, wound into a ring, and is composed of super conducting electromagnets. These electromagnets can make the “accelerated particles” to move into a circular path. Inside the tubular construction of the LHC lies the so-called “particle boosters”. These boosters are yet again super conducting magnets but its purpose is to accelerate the particles circulating inside the LHC by transferring more kinetic energy into the particles. Inside the LHC, two beams of particles travels approximately very close to the speed of light (as mentioned above). This accelerated motion is encompassed by high energy before collision.
The two particles are situated at different “tubes” that travels at opposite directions. These tubes are maintained to remain as vacuum (no air or any other matter, on which the particle may collide prematurely). These particles are guided around the accelerators by high energy superconducting magnets (also stated above). These magnets keep the direction of the particles in circular motion to remain inside the LHC. The superconducting magnets are built from special metal coiled into “rings” which operates at superconducting mode (efficient conduction of electricity without energy loss or resistance). This operation needs a very cold environment; therefore the superconducting magnets are maintained at temperatures approximately -271 oC. Helium is supplied to these magnets by cooling systems into and out of the accelerator, as well as to the other parts of CERN and other accelerators used by the organization, such as the Linear accelerator, also used for subatomic particle research but in a different approach. Thousands of magnets with different strength and dipole moments are used inside the LHC.
The magnets used to bend the beams is a 15m 1232 dipole magnets, the magnets for focusing the beams is a 7m 392 quadrupole magnets. Another type of magnet, “squeezing” the particles closer together before collision, is used to increase the rate and chance of collision. These is needed because the chance of colliding two particles so small (imagine the size of a proton), has a chance near 0% without the use of these magnets.
All the controls used in researches by the LHC are inside the CERN control center, along with controls of other accelerators and instruments they use. This includes supercomputers, displays, and gauges. From here, they can control the location of collision around the LHC, making it happen where the detectors are situated. Why use the LHC? The LHC was built to help scientists unlock some questions regarding matter and the Universe.
The Energy of particles being researched by scientists using LHC is so tremendous that a new discovery regarding particle physics may yet to happen that no one has really thought of. For the past few years, particle physicists have been able to explain the science of matter and the subatomic particles within the Universe and their interactions with each other. This is within the Standard Model of Physics.
Further understanding of what is beyond can only become accessible with the use of the LHC.Works CitesCERN. The Large Hadron Collider.
[December 9, 2008]. <http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/LHC/LHC-en.html>CERN.
Why the LHC. [December 9, 2008]. <http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/LHC/WhyLHC-en.html>LHC Large Hadron Collider.
[December 9, 2008].<http://lhc-machine-outreach.web.cern.ch/lhc-machine-outreach/>