The Large Hadron Collider shows its insides as upgrade work commences ( +11 photos)

The particle accelerator is scheduled to start up again in 2015
The 12,500 ton Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) in Cessy, France is the heaviest of the detectors at the LHC. It along with ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) gathered the data that resulted in the Higgs boson announcement.

The 12,500 ton Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) in Cessy, France is the heaviest of the detectors at the LHC. It along with ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) gathered the data that resulted in the Higgs boson announcement.

  • The 12,500 ton Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) in Cessy, France is the heaviest of the detectors at the LHC. It along with ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) gathered the data that resulted in the Higgs boson announcement.
  • The detectors are located underground to minimize the impact of the outside world and get a stable foundation. When they were installed, big shafts were used to get the parts down to the underground caves. They are also used to service the detectors.
  • The CMS detector's overall diameter is 15 meters and it is 28.7 meters long. At its core, the detector has silicon trackers which output 1 petabyte of data per second using using about 75 million channels.
  • The 12,500 ton Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) in Cessy, France is the heaviest of the detectors at the LHC. It along with ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) gathered the data that resulted in the Higgs boson announcement.
  • The CMS detector's overall diameter is 15 meters and it is 28.7 meters long. At its core, the detector has silicon trackers which output 1 petabyte of data per second using using about 75 million channels.
  • The detectors are located underground to minimize the impact of the outside world and get a stable foundation. When they were installed, big shafts were used to get the parts down to the underground caves. They are also used to service the detectors.
  • Long sections of the 27 kilometer LHC tunnel are actually straight. But when it's time for the beams of atomic particles to turn, large magnets are used do to the job.
  • The LHC accelerates two beams of atomic particles -- which have a pipe of their own -- in opposite directions around the collider. They are enclosed in a sheath of superconducting magnets and all of this is bathed in liquid helium at -271.3 degrees Celsius. Before the beams enter one of the detectors the two tubes come together so they can collide.
  • Each of the beams are fed into the collider using a separate pipe, shown here to the left.
  • The ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) detector is slightly lighter than CMS, but it still weighs 10,000 ton. The name is a reference to Alice in Wonderland.
  • CERN takes the security at the LHC very seriously, so staff as well as scientists at ALICE have to carry breathing masks in case of an accident.

Almost a year after the Higgs boson announcement, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is getting upgraded.

The work will result in increased collision energy and allow scientists to look even more closely at the universe's known and unknown building blocks. The need for the upgrade is related to thousands of electrical connections among the accelerator's magnets that weren't robust enough for the accelerator to run at the energy it was designed to. This design weakness led to major damage to the LHC in 2008.

The Higgs boson is one of two types of fundamental particles, and it's a particular game-changer in the field of particle physics, proving how particles gain mass, according to the CERN website.

During this lull the accelerator's four detectors are also undergoing upgrades and maintenance, and can be viewed in greater detail. The detectors are designed to track the motion and measure the energy and charge of new particles thrown out in all directions after a collision.

The goal is to have the LHC running in the [northern] Spring of 2015.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Topics: popular science, CERN
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