Scientists at CERN, the European Organization for
Nuclear Research, have announced they are going to
run the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with a beam of
energy of 4 TeV this year – that’s 0.5 TeV higher
than in 2010 and 2011. CERN is aiming to determine
whether the Higgs Boson exists or not this year.
made the decision following their annual
performance workshop, which was held in
Chamonix, France, last week. Yesterday, the
external CERN Machine Advisory Committee (CMAC)
also delivered a report.
CERN said its strategy is to optimise LHC
running so as to deliver the "maximum possible
amount" of data in 2012 before the LHC goes into
a long shutdown to prepare for higher energy
The 2012 data target is apparently 15 inverse
femtobarns for ATLAS and CMS, three times higher
than in 2011. Bunch spacing in the LHC will
remain at 50 nanoseconds, said CERN yesterday.
"When we started operating the LHC for physics
in 2010, we chose the lowest safe beam energy
consistent with the physics we wanted to do,"
said CERN's director for accelerators and
technology, Steve Myers. "Two good years of
operational experience with beam and many
additional measurements made during 2011 give us
the confidence to safely move up a notch, and
thereby extend the physics reach of the
experiments before we go into the LHC's first
'Tantalising hints' of Higgs
Just before Christmas, the elusive Higgs Boson
had been dominating scientific news. Back on 13
at CERN revealed they
might have experienced "tantalising hints" of
the Higgs boson, and that they were close to
solving the riddle that has been puzzling the
particle physics community and which could
revolutionise the scientific field, paving the
way for a new physics.
However, the physicists said at the time they
could not yet make any conclusive statement on
the existence or non-existence of the elusive
Higgs. They did indicate that the conundrum
surrounding the existence of Higgs boson would
be resolved later in 2012.
Yesterday, CERN said LHC's "excellent
performance" in 2010 and 2011 has brought
"tantalising hints of new physics", narrowing
the range of masses available to the Higgs
particle to a window of 16 GeV.
"Within this window, both the ATLAS and CMS
experiments have seen hints that a Higgs might
exist in the mass range 124-126 GeV," said the
CERN said that one
more year's worth of data is needed to turn
those hints into a discovery, or to rule out the
Standard Model Higgs particle altogether.
CERN said the LHC is on track to enter a long
technical stop at the end of this year to prepare
for running at its full design energy of around 7
TeV per beam.
"By the time the LHC goes into its first long stop
at the end of this year, we will either know that a
Higgs particle exists or have ruled out the
existence of a Standard Model Higgs," said CERN's
research director Sergio Bertolucci. "Either would
be a major advance in our exploration of nature,
bringing us closer to understanding how the
fundamental particles acquire their mass, and
marking the beginning of a new chapter in particle
CERN added that the schedule foresees beams back in
the LHC next month, and running through to November.
It said there will then be a long technical stop of
around 20 months, with the LHC restarting close to
its full design energy late in 2014 and operating
for physics at the new high energy in early 2015.