Context: Large Hadron Collider will soon start functioning for its third season at CERN.
About Large Hadron Collider
- It is built by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).
- It is a 27-km-long track-loop buried 100 metres underground at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.
- It is a giant, complex machine built to study particles that are the smallest known building blocks of all things.
- Objective: LHC’s goal is to test the Standard Model, the mathematical framework physicists use to describe all of the known fundamental particles in the universe and the forces through which they interact.
- In its operational state, it fires two beams of protons almost at the speed of light in opposite directions inside a ring of superconducting electromagnets.
- The magnetic field created by the superconducting electromagnets keeps the protons in a tight beam and guides them along the way as they travel through beam pipes and finally collide.
- LHC specialises in accelerating a beam of hadronic particles to certain specifications and delivering it.
- LHC uses a distribution system of liquid helium to keep its critical components ultra-cold at minus 271.3 degrees Celsius, which is colder than interstellar space.
Various Experiments at LHC
- ATLAS is the largest general purpose particle detector experiment at the LHC.
- ATLAS is designed to record the high-energy particle collisions of the LHC, which take place at a rate of over a billion interactions per second in the centre of the detector.
- More than 100 million sensitive electronics channels are used to record the particles produced by the collisions, which are then analysed by ATLAS scientists.
- Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment is one of the largest international scientific collaborations in history, with the same goals as ATLAS, but which uses a different magnet-system design.
- ATLAS and CMS detectors discovered the Higgs boson in 2012.
- ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is a detector dedicated to heavy-ion physics at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
- It is designed to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities, where a phase of matter called quark-gluon plasma forms.
- The Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment specializes in investigating the slight differences between matter and antimatter by studying a type of particle called the “beauty quark”, or “b quark”.
Major Findings at LHC
- Discovery of Higgs boson in 2012.
- Higgs boson is the fundamental force-carrying particle of the Higgs field, which is responsible for granting other particles their mass.
- Tested the predictions of the Standard Model of particle physics, the reigning theory of subatomic particles.
- Observed exotic particles like pentaquarks and tetraquarks and checked if their properties are in line with theoretical expectations
- Quarks are elementary particles that usually combine in groups of twos and threes to form hadrons such as the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei.
Future of LHC
- Future Circular Collider: In 2018, CERN released the proposal for a 100-kilometre-circumference Future Circular Collider.
- Compared to the 13.6 trillion electron volts energy level of LHC, the Future Circular Collider will work at energy levels of up to 100 trillion electron volts.
- The Future Circular Collider is an even bigger machine aimed at ensuring the seamless continuation of the world’s particle physics programme in the post-LHC era.
- European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory.
- CERN is based in Geneva on the French-Swiss border. It has 23 member states.
- India in 2016 became an associate member of the CERN.
- Indian scientists have played a significant role in the ALICE experiment, which is a dedicated experiment for search and study of Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP).
Circular Electron Positron Collider (CEPC)
- It is a proposed electron positron collider by the Chinese high energy physics community in 2012.
- It is a double-ring collider with electron and positron beams circulated in opposite directions in separate beam pipes, and the detectors are installed at two interaction points (IPs).
- Primary physics goal is to use the CEPC as a Higgs factory.