Large Hadron Collider Expected to Restart Within Days

A magnet module in the LHC tunnel during construction: its diode box, similar to the one where a fault emerged, is seen protruding at the bottom left. (PHOTO CREDIT: ATLAS Experiment 2014/CERN)
A magnet module in the LHC tunnel during construction: its diode box, similar to the one where a fault emerged, is seen protruding at the bottom left. (PHOTO CREDIT: ATLAS Experiment 2014/CERN)

Protons may whiz around the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) as early as this weekend, after a successful operation to fix a short circuit that had delayed its restart, according to Paul Collier, head of beams at CERN.

CERN, Europe’s particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, had planned to switch on the souped-up particle accelerator last week after a two-year shutdown for upgrades (see LHC 2.0: A new view of the Universe). But the lab put its plans on hold after the machine developed a fault.

Teams attributed the glitch to a piece of metal debris in a diode box, part of the safety system of one of the machine’s superconducting magnets. The debris short-circuited the magnet’s power supply.

Engineers’ first attempt to remove the fragment appears to have been successful. On 30 March they sent an electrical discharge through the circuit to burn away the metal causing the fault. “It’s a bit like deliberately blowing a fuse,” says Collier.

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SOURCE: Nature.com, Elizabeth Gibney

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