Magazine article American Scientist

Particles Crash Again

Magazine article American Scientist

Particles Crash Again

Article excerpt

After two years of upgrades, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)-the world's most powerful particle accelerator-went back online earlier this year. The LHC can now create particle collisions at energies of 13 trillion electron volts, about twice what had been possible before. (An electron volt is a measure of motion energy; higher-energy collisions potentially can produce previously unknown particles, or greater numbers of known ones to study.) But before the LHC got restarted, it had to calibrate its detectors, including the 7,000-ton ATLAS, which was involved in the discovery of the Higgs boson. The event depicted above illustrates how ATLAS recorded a calibration test called a beam splash. As Pauline Gagnon, a particle physicist who works at the LHC, explains, a wave of particles goes through a tracking detector (red) and provides simultaneous signals to all of ATLAS's sensors; the length of the yellow and teal bars indicates the energy recorded by a set of sensors that measure heat exchange, the calorimeters (green). …

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