March 19, 2010
CERN Establishes New Beam Energy Record
Officials at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have created the highest energy levels yet achieved in a particle accelerator, recording a pair of 3.5 trillion electron volts (TeV) beams in their Large Hadron Collider (LHC) early Friday Morning.
The 3.5 TeV readings are three-times larger than any achieved by a man-made device.
CERN officials are calling it "an important step" in their research, during which they will try to recreate conditions similar to those found during the infancy of the universe using the LHC. Scientists at the Geneva-based facility are hoping to prove the existence of dark matter, and perhaps even simulate the initial moments following the Big Bang of an estimated 14 billion years ago.
"Getting the beams to 3.5 TeV is testimony to the soundness of the LHC's overall design, and the improvements we've made since the breakdown in September 2008," Steve Myers, CERN's Director of Accelerators and Technology, said in a March 19 press release, which was posted on the organization's official website. "And it's a great credit to the patience and dedication of the LHC team."
The next step is to double their currently achieved beam energy output to 7 TeV, though no date for to attempt this has yet been announced by CERN. Once that has been accomplished, CERN plans to run the LHC through the end of 2010, and resume following a brief technical stop in 2011.
They hope to keep the collider active for an 18-24 month period, and believe that doing so will "bring enough data across all the potential discovery areas to firmly establish the LHC as the world's foremost facility for high-energy particle physics," according to the media statement on their website.
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