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Large Hadron Collider enters new phase with Oxford playing key role

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is by far the world’s largest, highest-energy subatomic particle collider. In order to increase its reach in exploring the subatomic universe in the search for Dark-Matter and other new particles, LHC will be upgraded to provide an even higher rate (the ‘luminosity’) of proton-proton collisions. ‘High-Luminosity LHC’ (HL-LHC) will push these boundaries from the mid - 2020s onwards and the Oxford John Adams Institute (JAI) team, led by Professor Philip Burrows, is playing a key role.

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The collaboration is between the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), CERN, the Cockcroft Institute, the John Adams Institute, and eight UK Universities.

The Oxford team is contributing to development of both the position monitors for the incoming beams and the system for correcting mis-steering due to possible vibrations of the focusing magnets, which it is also characterising. Because the beams are focused to be smaller than the diameter of a human hair at the collision point, the team needs to know their incoming trajectories with high precision and ensure that they are steered into head-on collisions.

Professor Burrows from Oxford's Department of Physics, said:

This is an immense technical challenge, not least because the beams collide 40 million times per second, so our measurement and correction systems have to work ultra-fast: if we hang about by more than a few billionths of a second we will be too late!

Fortunately in my ‘Feedback On Nanosecond Timescales’ group we have long experience of addressing similar problems at other accelerators, so we are up to the job. We are very proud to play a lead role in the UK team that will help deliver HL-LHC for CERN and all our collaborators worldwide.

CERN’s High Luminosity LHC project (HL-LHC), a large international collaboration, will upgrade the LHC by increasing the number of particle collisions by a factor of 10, allowing physicists to learn more about the properties of the Higgs boson.

The full article can be found on the University of Oxford homepage.