Science and Technology Facilities Council
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Turning up the heat to find the Higgs and other new physics
CERN has announced (13 February 2012) that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will run with a beam energy of 4 TeV this year. This is 0.5 TeV higher than in 2010 and 2011.
The LHC's excellent performance in 2010 and 2011 has brought tantalising hints of new physics, with scientists on two of the LHC's four experiments now focussed on a window of just 16GeV in which the Higgs boson can exist.
By increasing the beam energy in 2012, the aim is to deliver as much data as possible before the LHC goes into a long shutdown in November 2012 to prepare for higher energy running. This additional data will enable scientists to either confirm that the Higgs boson exists or to rule out the existence of a Standard Model Higgs. The data target for 2012 is 15 inverse femtobarns for ATLAS and CMS, the two experiments that looking for evidence of the Higgs boson. This is a factor of three higher than in 2011. The additional beam energy and data will also benefit the ALICE and LHCb experiments as they increase our understanding of quark-gluon plasmas and antimatter.
The LHC is due to resume operating in March after its annual winter break, and run through to November. 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.
STFC is the UK sponsor of particle physics and manages the UK subscription to CERN.
Further information is available on the CERN website (link opens in a new window).