The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s most powerful and largest particle collider. It is made up of a 27 km long underground ring and four large particle detectors.
The Large Hadron Collider is the very large, very powerful particle accelerator based at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). A collaborative project with 22 member states, it is the largest and biggest science experiment ever built! The LHC was first switched on September 10, 2008, ten years after its construction. It was restarted in 2015 after an upgrade to increase the energy provided to the particles
A hadron is a particle that is composed of quarks, which are held together by a strong force. Hadrons include neutrons, protons, pions, and kaons. A collider is a type of research particle accelerator. The collider directs particles to collide with one another inside a detector by using two beams of light. The LHC carries out most of its research looking at collision between protons, but it has been used to look at collision between lead ions. Scientists smash the particles together to analyze the byproducts with the intention of understanding the laws of nature that govern these particles. They are looking to see whether the standard model of particle physics holds, or whether this model needs to be revised.
Particles are accelerated in an underground ring using superconducting electromagnets. For these magnets to work properly, they need to be cooled through a network of pipes that supply liquid helium. There are electromagnets that bend the beam, but there are also electromagnets that focus the beam and push the particles closer together. Beams of particles are made to collide inside one of four particle detectors in the ring. These detectors are known as ATLAS, CMS, ALICE and LHCb.
ATLAS is one of two general purpose detectors, along with CMS. Although both ATLAS and CMS have similar goals, they use different technology. ATLAS and CMS were the two particle detectors involved with discovering the Higgs Boson in 2013. ALICE and LHCb are two experiments designed to study particular phenomena. ALICE is a detector of heavy ions and is used to study quark-gluon plasma. LHCb investigates the difference between matter and anti matter by studying a particle known as a beauty quark.
There are two smaller experiments called TOTEM and LHCf that study particles that brush past each other instead of collide. MoEDAL is another experiment found near LHCb and is looking for the hypothetical magnetic monopole.