LHC sets new speed record

The large Hadron Collider (LHC) has set a new record, accelerating particles to the highest speed yet.

Early this morning, two 3.5TeV proton beams successfully circulated in the particle accelerator for the first time. The next step is to try and collide beams at this speed.

“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,” said CERN’s director for accelerators and technology, Steve Myers. “And it’s a great credit to the patience and dedication of the LHC team.”

The current run began last November, with a beam speed of 0.45TeV, and a world record beam energy of 1.18 TeV was set by the end of the month. By the time the LHC switched off for 2009 on 16 December, another record had been set with collisions recorded at 2.36TeV and significant quantities of data recorded.

There was then a break to prepare for higher speeds, as machine protection systems were improved to cope with the higher electrical currents required in the LHC magnet circuits.

Once 7TeV collisions are underway, CERN plans to run the LHC continuously for a period of 18-24 months, with a short technical stop at the end of 2010.