Physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) set an energy record last month and now they’ve done it again, colliding protons at 8 Tera-electronvolts (TeV), power output they believe is bringing them closer to the Higgs boson.
The move forward is a huge jump and was announced by CERN on April 5. The agency wrote:
“the LHC shift crew declared ‘stable beams’ as two 4 TeV proton beams were brought into collision at the LHC’s four interaction points … The collision energy of 8 TeV is a new world record, and increases the machine’s discovery potential considerably.”.
To put the energy change in comparison LHC in 2011 was running at 3.5 TeV per beam, at that time physicists were still familiarizing themselves with the massive piece of scientific hardware.
When scientists finally reached 7 TeV they were finding “hints” of the Higgs boson particle. Scientists hope that by increasing power output by 1 TeV they can create strong enough Higgs particles (if they even exist) to leave no questions about the discovery.
If Large Hadron Collider physicists are able to find the Higgs and then study the conditions of the Big Bang even for the briefest of moments they may also be able to find particles that they had previously hypothesized to exist outside of the standard model of physics.
In the meantime physicists currently have until the end of 2012 to study 8 TeV particle collisions at which point the Large Hadron Collider will be shut down in preparation for an even bigger amplification that will see 14 TeV results by the end of 2014.