Is Large Hadron Collider still making any progress?

Is Large Hadron Collider still making any progress?

An improved version of Large Hadron Collider called Future Circular Collider is under-development which could produce enough energy to create Black Holes.

In Particle Physics, a Hadron is a composite particle of quarks held together by a strong force in the same way as molecules are comprised of atoms bonded by electromagnetic forces. A Hadron Collider is a gigantic particle accelerator, which is constructed for the sole purpose of experimenting with the various theories of Physics. It uses underground tunnels to accelerate, store, and collide two particle beams. Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider.

In fact, it is not only the largest particle collider but also the largest machine ever built on the planet Earth. Thousands of scientists from around the globe, under the banner of European Organization for Nuclear Research, contributed to the production of this machine from 1998 to 2008. It is situated in a tunnel, having a circumference of 27 kilometers, beneath the border of France and Switzerland near Geneva.

The main objective of the project was to enable the researchers to verify the different theories of particle physics. That included measuring the properties of the Higgs Boson as well as searching for the large family of new particles predicted by Supersymmetric theories. In addition to that, it would also be used to find the solution of other unsolved problems of physics.

It became fully functional in 2010, and its maiden research run lasted from 2010-2013. In that run, it produced an energy of 7-8 Tera Electronvolts, which was a world record for a collider at that time and was more than four times the energy of the previously held record. In 2012, it achieved great success in the form of verification of the presence of the Higgs Boson. In 2013, it was made inactive in a bid to upgrade its abilities. It was continuously upgraded from 2013 to 2015 and became functional again in 2015. This time it came back with even more power and reached maximum energy of 13 Tera Electronvolts. Its second phase is expected to last till 2018.

According to a physicist working at Large Hadron Collider, Arturo Sanchez Pineda, the initial design of LHC was for it to reach the energy levels of up to 14 Tera Electronvolts but since the machine has been working pretty well they are hopeful of reaching beyond that. These higher energy levels will enable them to study more particles that come out as a result of the collisions. A recent example is the observation of the extent of the strength of Higgs Boson with the heaviest known elementary particle, the Top Quark, on 4th June 2018. This rare interaction has helped physicists gain valuable information regarding the nature of the mass and it will also help them to decide if there is more to physics than what the present model suggests.

These are the kind of results that the LHC is dishing out nowadays in its present setup. But the amazing thing is that the future plans for updating are just mouthwatering! The first update will be called ‘High Luminosity LHC’. In this update, a new type of Quadrupole magnets will be added before the ATLAS and the CMS detectors which will classify the protons in finer beams and hence will result in the increase in the rate of collisions. This update is planned to be completed till 2024. According to Pineda, the existing LHC has a circumference of 27 kilometers which will be used as a pre-accelerator for an even bigger ring which will have a circumference of around 100 kilometers. The upgraded LHC would be called LHC 2.0 or Future Circular Collider.

It would have the capacity to produce energy equal to around ten million lightning strikes. Researchers believe that this energy would be more than enough for the creation of Black Holes. At LHC, everything runs using codes and a huge amount of data is processed to find the results. With more energy available for collisions, more particles will be observed and more data will be produced so required data analysis and computations will also increase.

That would be the reason why the increase in processing power and advancements in technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will also help in finding more accurate results. With these progressions lined up, the future of particle physics looks bright. There is a strong possibility of a huge breakthrough in next 20 years which might change the complexion of mankind for centuries to come.

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