Members of the QMUL Particle Physics Research Center (PPRC), involved in the ATLAS experiment and the GridPP computing cluster, are ready for the new operational phase of the LHC as CERN announces the successful collisions of proton beams with a total energy of 13 TeV.
Last night, on May 20th 2015 at around 10:30pm the Beams Division operating CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) initiated the collision of pilot proton beams with a record collision energy of 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV) for the first time. The low-intensity beams are currently used to tune the accelerator parameters ahead of the beginning of the LHC Run 2.
The LHC Run 2, due to start in mid 2015, foresees proton-proton collisions with a total energy of 13 and 14 TeV, nearly twice that of the previous phase that led to the discovery of the Higgs boson. Members of the PPRC participate in the ATLAS experiment and in the past two years have been working to improve the tracking and triggering capabilities of the detector, owing to their involvement in the construction, operation and upgrades of the ATLAS Semiconductor Tracker and the calorimeter first-level Trigger electronics.
The QMUL personnel are also involved with GridPP, the UK part of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid which is spread over 174 facilities in 40 countries and which processes about 10 gigabytes of data every second. The PPRC hosts one of the largest GridPP computing clusters, part of the London Tier-2 with approximately 420 machines with 3600 CPU cores and 1.7 PB of disk space.
With today's announcement, the ATLAS group at QMUL is looking forward to the upcoming high-luminosity proton-proton collisions of the LHC Run 2. The PPRC staff are preparing to study in minute details the emerging of top-quarks, W/Z bosons with associated heavy and light-flavour jets, B mesons and Higgs bosons, in the hope of discovering new particles, such as candidate particles of Dark Matter, or the indication of new fundamental forces or even a new space-time structure.
The present low-intensity commissioning of the full operational cycle of the LHC is expected to last a few more weeks. Run 2 itself is expected to last three years.