The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is getting a big boost to its performance. Unfortunately, for fans of ground-breaking physics, the whole thing has to be shut down for two years while the work is done. But once it’s back up and running, its enhanced capabilities will make it even more powerful.
The essence of the Large Hadron Collider is to accelerate particles and then direct them to collide with each other in chambers. Cameras and detectors are trained on these collisions, and the results are monitored in minute detail. It’s all about discovering new particles and new reactions between particles, and watching how particles decay.
This shutdown is called Long Shutdown 2 (LS2.) The first shutdown was LS1, and it took place between 2013 and 2015. During LS1 the power of the collider was improved, and so were its detection capabilities. The same will happen during LS2, when engineers will reinforce and upgrade the whole accelerator complex and the detectors. The work is in preparation for the next LHC run, which will start in 2021. It’s also to prepare for the a project called the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) project, which starts in 2025.
The High-Luminosity LHC, which is expected to be operational after 2025, will increase the LHC’s luminosity by a factor of 10. To achieve this major upgrade, scientists and engineers are optimising all of the collider’s parameters. Several technologies, some of which are completely innovative, are being developed.
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