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A J Rakshith 1DA07ME001

Why the lhc ? What is lhc ? The heavy-ion physics at lhc. The lhc experiment World wide lhc Computing grid. Facts and figures The safety of the lhc antimatter


THE LHC WAS BUILT TO HELP SCIENTISTS TO ANSWER KEY UNRESOLVED QUESTIONS IN PARTICLE PHYSICS LIKE;What is mass? What is 96% of the universe made of? Why is there no more antimatter? What was matter like within the first second of the Universes life? Do extra dimensions of space really exist? Why is gravity so many orders of magnitude weaker than the other three fundamental forces?


The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe


The collider is contained in a circular tunnel, with a circumference of 27 kilometres (17 mi), at a depth ranging from 50 to 175 metres (160 to 574 ft) underground

The collider tunnel contains two adjacent parallel beam pipes that intersect at four points, each containing a proton beam, which travel in opposite directions around the ring. Some 1,232 dipole magnets keep the beams on their circular path.

An additional 392 quadrupole magnets are used to keep the beams focused, in order to maximize the chances of interaction between the particles in the four intersection points, where the two beams will cross.

In total, over 1,600 superconducting magnets are installed, with most weighing over 27 tonnes.

Approximately 96 tonnes of liquid helium is needed to keep the magnets at their operating temperature of 1.9 K (271.25 C), making the LHC the largest cryoganic facility in the world at liquid helium temperature.


In the LHC heavy-ion programme, beams of heavy nuclei ("ions") will collide at energies up to 30 times higher than in previous laboratory experiments. In these heavy-ion collisions, matter is heated to more than 100,000 times the temperature at the centre of the Sun, reaching conditions that existed in the first microseconds after the Big Bang. The aim of the heavy-ion programme at the LHC is to produce this matter at the highest temperatures and densities ever studied in the laboratory, and to investigate its properties in detail. This is expected to lead to basic new insights into the nature of the strong interaction between fundamental particles.


The six experiments at the LHC are all run by international collaborations, bringing together scientists from institutes all over the world. Each experiment is distinct, characterised by its unique particle detector.


For the ALICE experiment, the LHC will collide lead ions to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang under laboratory conditions. The data obtained will allow physicists to study a state of matter known as quark-gluon plasma, which is believed to have existed soon after the Big Bang ALICE detector:Size: 26 m long, 16 m high, 16 m wide Weight: 10 000 tonnes Design: central barrel plus single arm forward muon spectrometer A collaboration of more than 1000 scientists from 94 institutes in 28 countries works on the ALICE experiment (March 2006).


ATLAS is one of two general-purpose detectors at the LHC. It will investigate a wide range of physics, including the search for the higgs boson, extra dimensions, and particles that could make up darkmatter. ATLAS will record sets of measurements on the particles created in collisions - their paths, energies, and their identities. ATLAS detector Size: 46 m long, 25 m high and 25 m wide. The ATLAS detector is the largest volume particle detector ever constructed. Weight: 7000 tonnes Design: barrel plus end caps Location: Meyrin, Switzerland.


The CMS detector is built around a huge solenoid magnet. This takes the form of a cylindrical coil of superconducting cable that generates a magnetic field of 4 teslas, about 100 000 times that of the Earth. The magnetic field is confined by a steel 'yoke' that forms the bulk of the detector's weight of 12 500 tonnes. CMS detector Size: 21 m long, 15 m wide and 15 m high. Weight: 12 500 tonnes Design: barrel plus end caps Location: Cessy, France.

More than 2000 scientists collaborate in CMS, coming from 155 institutes in 37 countries (October 2006).


The LHCb experiment will help us to understand why we live in a Universe that appears to be composed almost entirely of matter, but no antimatter. It specialises in investigating the slight differences between matter and antimatter by studying a type of particle called the 'beauty quark', or 'b quark'. LHCb detector Size: 21m long, 10m high and 13m wide Weight: 5600 tonnes Design: forward spectrometer with planar detectors Location: Ferney-Voltaire, France. The LHCb collaboration has 650 scientists from 48 institutes in 13 countries (April 2006).


The TOTEM experiment studies forward particles to focus on physics that is not accessible to the general-purpose experiments. Among a range of studies, it will measure, in effect, the size of the proton and also monitor accurately the LHC's luminosity. To do this TOTEM must be able to detect particles produced very close to the LHC beams. It will include detectors housed in specially designed vacuum chambers called 'Roman pots', which are connected to the beam pipes in the LHC. Eight Roman pots will be placed in pairs at four locations near the collision point of the CMS experiment. Although the two experiments are scientifically independent, TOTEM will complement the results obtained by the CMS detector and by the other LHC experiments overall. The TOTEM experiment involves 50 scientists from 10 institutes in 8 countries (2006). TOTEM detector Size: 440 m long, 5 m high and 5 m wide Weight: 20 tonnes Design: Roman pot and GEM detectors and cathode strip chambers Location: Cessy, France (near CMS)


The LHCf experiment uses forward particles created inside the LHC as a source to simulate cosmic rays in laboratory conditions. Cosmic rays are naturally occurring charged particles from outer space that constantly bombard the Earth's atmosphere. They collide with nuclei in the upper atmosphere, leading to a cascade of particles that reaches ground level. Studying how collisions inside the LHC cause similar cascades of particles will help scientists to interpret and calibrate large-scale cosmicray experiments that can cover thousands of kilometres. The LHCf experiment involves 22 scientists from 10 institutes in 4 countries (September 2006). LHCf detector Size: two detectors, each measures 30 cm long, 80 cm high, 10 cm wide Weight: 40 kg each Design: Location: Meyrin, Switzerland (near ATLAS)

Worldwide LHC Computing Grid

The Large Hadron Collider will produce roughly 15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) of data annually enough to fill more than 1.7 million dual-layer DVDs a year! Thousands of scientists around the world want to access and analyse this data, so CERN is collaborating with institutions in 34 different countries to operate a distributed computing and data storage infrastructure: the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG). Data from the LHC experiments is distributed around the globe, with a primary backup recorded on tape at CERN. After initial processing, this data is distributed to eleven large computer centres in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries, Spain, Taipei, the UK, and two sites in the USA with sufficient storage capacity for a large fraction of the data, and with round-the-clock support for the computing grid. These so-called Tier-1 centres make the data available to over 160 Tier2 centres for specific analysis tasks. Individual scientists can then access the LHC data from their home country, using local computer clusters or even individual PCs.


The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can achieve an energy that no other particle accelerators have reached before, but Nature routinely produces higher energies in cosmic-ray collisions. Concerns about the safety of whatever may be created in such high-energy particle collisions have been addressed for many years. In the light of new experimental data and theoretical understanding, the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) has updated a review of the analysis made in 2003 by the LHC Safety Study Group, a group of independent scientists.







The largest machine in the world... The precise circumference of the LHC accelerator is 26 659 m, with a total of 9300 magnets inside. Not only is the LHC the worlds largest particle accelerator, just one-eighth of its cryogenic distribution system would qualify as the worlds largest fridge. All the magnets will be pre-cooled to 193.2C (80 K) using 10 080 tonnes of liquid nitrogen, before they are filled with nearly 120 tonnes of liquid helium to bring them down to 271.3C (1.9 K).

The fastest racetrack on the planet... At full power, trillions of protons will race around the LHC accelerator ring 11 245 times a second, travelling at 99.9999991% the speed of light. Two beams of protons will each travel at a maximum energy of 7 TeV (tera-electronvolt), corresponding to head-to-head collisions of 14 TeV. Altogether some 600 million collisions will take place every second.

The emptiest space in the Solar System... To avoid colliding with gas molecules inside the accelerator, the beams of particles travel in an ultrahigh vacuum a cavity as empty as interplanetary space. The internal pressure of the LHC is 1013 atm, ten times less than the pressure on the Moon!

The hottest spots in the galaxy, but even colder than outer space... The LHC is a machine of extreme hot and cold. When two beams of protons collide, they will generate temperatures more than 100 000 times hotter than the heart of the Sun, concentrated within a minuscule space. By contrast, the 'cryogenic distribution system', which circulates superfluid helium around the accelerator ring, keeps the LHC at a super cool temperature of 271.3C (1.9 K) even colder than outer space!

The most powerful supercomputer system in the world... The data recorded by each of the big experiments at the LHC will fill around 100 000 dual layer DVDs every year. To allow the thousands of scientists scattered around the globe to collaborate on the analysis over the next 15 years (the estimated lifetime of the LHC), tens of thousands of computers located around the world are being harnessed in a distributed computing network called the Grid.



Journey to a new frontier

The LHC accelerator was originally conceived in the 1980s and approved for construction by the CERN Council in late 1994. Turning this ambitious scientific plan into reality proved to be an immensely complex task. Civil engineering work to excavate underground caverns to house the huge detectors for the experiments started in 1998. Five years later, the last cubic metre of ground was finally dug for the whole project. Numerous state-of-the-art technologies were pushed even further to meet the accelerator's exacting specifications and unprecedented demands. Anticipating the colossal amount of data the LHC's experiments would produce (nearly 1% of the worlds information production rate), a new approach to data storage, management, sharing and analysis was created in the LHC Computing Grid project. For more than a decade, building the LHC had been a dream for many who have worked hard to bring it to completion. Finally we can retell the story of this adventure in a journey, from a dream to a reality