Protons crashed together in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) last night, at the record-breaking energy of 13 teraelectron volts (TeV) for the first time.
These test collisions are intneded to set up systems that protect the machine and detectors from particles that stray from the edges of the beam. One teraelectron volt equals 1.60217657 × 10-7 joules.
A vital part of the process was the set-up of the LHC’s collimators. These devices, which absorb stray particles, were adjusted in colliding-beam conditions. This set-up will enable the accelerator team to gather the data they need to ensure that the LHC magnets and detectors are fully protected.
The tests continue today, with colliding beams shceduled stay in the LHC for several hours. The LHC Operations team will continue to monitor beam quality and optimisation of the set-up.
As of 2015, the LHC remains the largest and most complex experimental facility ever built. Its synchrotron is designed to collide two opposing particle beams of either protons at up to 4 teraelectronvolts (4 TeV or 0.64 microjoules), or lead nuclei (574 TeV per nucleus, or 2.76 TeV per nucleon), with energies increased up to around 6.5 TeV (13 TeV collision energy) in 2015.