CERN on Monday ran for the last time the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator, housed underground near the France-Switzerland border near Geneva, which ran since May this year.
It said the number of collisions recorded by the ATLAS and CMS detectors during the proton run was 60 percent higher than expected though the results of 2012 could not be repeated.
Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) observed over 6.5 million billion collisions, which is more data collection compared to the collider’s past three runs combined, surpassing expectations and is double that achieved at a lower energy in 2012.
“One of the key factors contributing to this success was the remarkable availability of the LHC and its injectors,” CERN physicist Mike Lamont said in a statement. “It’s the result of an on-going programme of work over the last few years to consolidate and upgrade the machines and procedures.”
The run provided observations of the famous Higgs boson at never-seen before energy of 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV) but it failed in the search for new particles. Moreover, the “bump” seen in 2015 data at 750 gigaelectronvolts, detected by the ATLAS and CMS detectors, did not occur despite much larger 2016 dataset and higher energy levels.
Defending the run, CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti said earlier: “The superb performance of the LHC accelerator, experiments and computing bode extremely well for a detailed and comprehensive exploration of the several TeV energy scale, and significant progress in our understanding of fundamental physics.”
In its last run, the LHC had been carried out experiments that involved smashing lead ions against protons at a record energy of 8.16 TeV. To recreate the conditions in the universe, when QGP existed for a fraction of a second, massive ions of lead were made to collide head-on, creating a miniscule fireball in which everything melted to form the plasma.
The LHC run will be resumed again in March 2017 and CERN researchers will be analyzing the data collected so far. India has recently joined CERN as an Associate Member.