Scientists have shut down the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located at the particle physics laboratory CERN in Geneva for two years for upgrades. The large particle accelerator has reached an energy level of 13 trillion electron volts.

With adjustments, the particle collider will increase the rate of proton smash ups by almost a factor of five. The 27-kilometer particle accelerator requires two years for maintenance work and improving its capabilities.

“In addition to many other beautiful results, over the past few years the LHC experiments have made tremendous progress in the understanding of the properties of the Higgs boson,” said Fabiola Gianotti, CERN Director-General. “The Higgs boson is a special particle, very different from the other elementary particles observed so far; its properties may give us useful indications about physics beyond the Standard Model.”

As the next set of experiments involves collisions at higher energies, the accelerator chain that provides LHC with protons will be altered to produce more intense beams. Software required to monitor the collisions and several other parts will be updated.

 “The second run of the LHC has been impressive, as we could deliver well beyond our objectives and expectations, producing five times more data than during the first run, at the unprecedented energy of 13 TeV [terra-electronVolt],” says Frédérick Bordry, CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology. “With this second long shutdown starting now, we will prepare the machine for even more collisions at the design energy of 14 TeV.”

The LHC was shut down for first time (L1) between 2013 and 2015. During this time, the collider was armed with more power and its detection capabilities were improved. The present shut down is called L2 (the Long Shutdown 2). The upgrades are part of the preparation for the project called High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) project, which starts in 2025.


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