Looking under the hood at the LHC (Courtesy: CERN)
By Hamish Johnston
By all accounts the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its experiments are working much better than expected and are gathering data like gangbusters. So it might seem strange that many physicists at CERN are keen to shut the whole thing down for a 20-month overhaul. But that’s going to happen at the end of February 2013, when the facility in Geneva will go dark.
One key change that must be made to the accelerator is the replacement of all the connectors between superconducting magnets to ensure that the LHC can run at a collision energy of 14 TeV – compared with the current energy of 8 TeV. This overhaul is seen as crucial because it was the failure of one of these connectors that led to the disastrous explosion of 2008.
Given that no evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model has emerged from the LHC so far, many physicists must be very keen to boost the collision energy in the hope that strange things will happen.
As the connectors are replaced, all four LHC experiments will be upgraded.
You can read all about the revamp here.