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Published by: api-26470372 on Mar 19, 2010
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LHCThe Large Hadron ColliderThe worlds most complicatedscientific experiment, hope-fully giving answers to whatexisted at dawn of creation
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Abstract
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) , the particle accelerator at CERN, Geneva, isthe largest and probably the most complex scientific instrument ever built.Superconductivity plays a a key role because the accelerator is based on thereliable operation of almost 10 000 superconducting magnets cooled by 130tonnes of helium at 1.9 and 4.2 º K, and containing a total stored magneticenergy of about 15 000 MJ. The characteristics of the 1200 tonnes of high qualityNb–Ti cables have met the severe requests in term of critical currents,magnetization and inter-strand resistance. The magnets are built withunprecedented uniformity, about 0.01% of variation in field quality among 1232main dipoles, which are 15 m in length and 30 tonnes in weight.
What is expected
 
?
The LHC is a particle accelerator, designed to collide counter-circulating protonbeams up to 1 TeV (Terra electron volt) pr. beam. The collider receives particlebeams at low energy from its injectors when the field in the main dipoles is 0.54T (Tesla). Once the two rings are filled with counter-circulating beams, the field
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in the main dipoles is increased in 20 min up to 8.3 T, meanwhile the RF cavitiesaccelerate each beam up to 7 TeV.The LHC is then switched to collition mode, where the beams are tightly focusedand made to collide almost head–on to produce interesting events.After 2-10 hours of beam collitions, the beam itself is exhausted, and it isdumped.The machine is designed to withstand some 20 000 such cycles in 20 year’slifetime, as well as 20-30 full thermal cycles.(1)
How to detect the events ?
The two largest of the LHC detectors, calledATLAS and CMS, also use giant super-conducting magnets to improve sensitivity.These magnets have record characteristics,too. One is the largest size super-conducting magnet in the world, and theother is the most powerful, in terms of stored energy in a single circuit.(1)
The superconducting magnets
Superconductivity plays a fundamental role, because it allows magnetic fields inexcess of 8 T to be reached, combined with the curvature radius of the dipoles,this field enables proton beams to reach energies of 7TeV, almost an order of magnitude larger than previous accelerators. The LHC relies on 1734 largemagnets, including the accelerator backbone, the 1232 main dipoles (15 m longand 30 tonnes) and 7724 smaller size superconducting corrector magnets.The LHC magnet system, while still making use of the well-proven technologybased on NbTi Rutherford cables, cool the magnets to a temperature below 4.3K, using superfluid helium (130 Tonnes) and operates at fields above 8 T. Inaddition, space limitations in the tunnel and the need to keep costs down haveled to the adoption of the “two in one” or “twin-bore” design for almost all of theLHC superconducting magnets. This design accomodates the windings for thetwo beam channels in a common cold mass and cryostar, with magnetic fluxcirculating in the opposite sense through the two channels. This makes themagnet structure complicated, especially for the dipoles, for which the separationof the two beam channels is small enough that they are coupled bothmagnetically and mechanically
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