Cern's LHC breaks beam intensity record again

The Large Hadron Collider has retaken the crown of the world's most intense beam producer, although the facility says reports of it discovering the Higgs boson remain premature

Cern's Large Hadron Collider has set a new world record for beam intensity, meaning the massive experiment can record more data than before.

According to the European nuclear research facility, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) now collides beams with a luminosity of 4.67x1032cm-2s-1, breaking the 4.024x1032cm-2s-1 record set in 2010 by the Tevatron at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the US. That record had in turn broken another set by Cern in 2009.

LHC Cern record

Cern's Large Hadron Collider has set a new world record for beam intensity. Photo credit: Claudia Marcelloni/Cern

"Beam intensity is key to the success of the LHC, so this is a very important step," Cern director-general Rolf Heuer said in a statement on Friday. "Higher intensity means more data, and more data means greater discovery potential."

Higgs boson search

The LHC is a giant experiment, involving a 27km ring tunnel buried deep beneath the Alps, that aims to recreate the conditions immediately after the Big Bang. One of the things Cern hopes to find is the Higgs boson: the particle's existence would prove some of the fundamental theories of physics.

According to Cern, the current run of the LHC will continue until the end of 2012 at its current energy of 3.5 tera-electron-volts (TeV), after which it will be readied for a run at its full energy of 7 TeV per beam. The current run should be enough to ascertain the existence or otherwise of the Higgs boson.

"There's a great deal of excitement at Cern today and a tangible feeling that we're on the threshold of new discovery," the organisation's research and scientific director, Sergio Bertolucci, said in the statement.

However, a spokeswoman for the facility told ZDNet UK on Tuesday, rumours that the Higgs boson have already been found are premature. These rumours are based on a leaked Cern memo, but the spokeswoman said this was "just a pre-memo" that has not even passed the scrutiny of the Atlas collaboration team that is running the experiment.

"Somebody has leaked it [but] often these results go away because they don't withstand the tests," Cern's spokeswoman said.

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