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Poles Modernize Large Hadron Collider
July 29, 2011   
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Poland’s Institute for Nuclear Studies (IPJ) in ¦wierk near Warsaw has signed an agreement with the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to help modernize a complex of accelerators as part of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project, which involves the development of the world’s largest high-energy particle accelerator.

Under the agreement, the Polish institute will supply 12 PIMS accelerator cavities for the Linac4 accelerator by mid-2012.

The Large Hadron Collider is the most powerful research device on Earth. Efforts to increase its capacity and performance have continued since the facility was launched in November 2009. Ultimately, it will collide protons with a frequency of up to a billion collisions per second. The energy of each collision between two protons will be so great that it could be converted into a mass of 14,000 new protons.

The researchers are looking for new particles rather than protons among the products of the collisions. The discovery and examination of these particles is expected to help better understand the laws of nature governing these processes and explain the evolution and composition of the universe.

The modernization of the accelerator complex is expected to contribute to achieving even more frequent collisions and greater energies, thus increasing the chances of new discoveries.

Before the protons enter the 27-kilometer ring of the LHC, they are pre-accelerated by a number of smaller accelerators. At the beginning, the protons are ordinary hydrogen nuclei stored in a cylinder resembling a fire extinguisher. From this cylinder the protons are fed into the first accelerating device—a linear accelerator—in portions every few hours.

The accelerator, a Linac2, was built in the late 1970s. According to Paweł Krawczyk, Ph.D., director of the Nuclear Equipment Department at the IPJ, CERN now plans to replace it with a more powerful accelerator called Linac4. The Polish institute has undertaken to build 12 end accelerating structures for it, Krawczyk said.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It lies in a tunnel beneath the French-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland and is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing the understanding of the laws of nature. The Large Hadron Collider was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from more than 100 countries, as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
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