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  • richardmitnick 4:10 pm on December 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Recreating Big Bang matter on Earth", , , , , , CERN Super Proton Synchrotron, , , ,   

    From CERN (CH): “Recreating Big Bang matter on Earth” 

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    From CERN (CH)

    13 NOVEMBER, 2020 [Just now in social media]
    Ana Lopes

    Our fifth story in the LHC Physics at Ten series looks at how the LHC has recreated and greatly advanced our knowledge of the state of matter that is believed to have existed shortly after the Big Bang.

    1
    Recreating Big Bang matter on Earth at CERN’s LHC.

    2
    Illustration of the history of the universe. About one microsecond (μs) from the Big Bang, protons formed from the quark–gluon plasma. Credit: BICEP2 Collaboration/CERN/NASA.

    The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN usually collides protons together. It is these proton–proton collisions that led to the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012.

    CERN CMS Higgs Event May 27, 2012.


    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event
    June 12, 2012.

    But the world’s biggest accelerator was also designed to smash together heavy ions, primarily the nuclei of lead atoms, and it does so every year for about one month. And for at least two good reasons. First, heavy-ion collisions at the LHC recreate in laboratory conditions the plasma of quarks and gluons that is thought to have existed shortly after the Big Bang. Second, the collisions can be used to test and study, at the highest manmade temperatures and densities, fundamental predictions of quantum chromodynamics, the theory of the strong force that binds quarks and gluons together into protons and neutrons and ultimately all atomic nuclei.

    The LHC wasn’t the first machine to recreate Big Bang matter: back in 2000, experiments at the Super Proton Synchrotron at CERN found compelling evidence of the quark–gluon plasma.

    The Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), CERN’s second-largest accelerator. (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN).

    About five years later, experiments at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US started an era of detailed investigation of the quark–gluon plasma.

    BNL/RHIC.

    However, in the 10 years since it achieved collisions at higher energies than its predecessors, the LHC has taken studies of the quark–gluon plasma to incredible new heights. By producing a hotter, denser and longer-lived quark–gluon plasma as well as a larger number and assortment of particles with which to probe its properties and effects, the LHC has allowed physicists to study the quark–gluon plasma with an unprecedented level of detail. What’s more, the machine has delivered some surprising results along the way, stimulating new theoretical studies of this state of matter.

    Heavy collision course

    When heavy nuclei smash into one another in the LHC, the hundreds of protons and neutrons that make up the nuclei release a large fraction of their energy into a tiny volume, creating a fireball of quarks and gluons.

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    First proton-lead collision test at the LHC successful | Symmetry Magazine

    These tiny bits of quark–gluon plasma only exist for fleeting moments, with the individual quarks and gluons, collectively known as partons, quickly forming composite particles and antiparticles that fly out in all directions. By studying the zoo of particles produced in the collisions – before, during and after the plasma is created – researchers can study the plasma from the moment it is produced to the moment it cools down and gives way to a state in which composite particles called hadrons can form. However, the plasma cannot be observed directly. Its presence and properties are deduced from the experimental signatures it leaves on the particles that are produced in the collisions and their comparison with theoretical models.

    Such studies can be divided into two distinct categories. The first kind of study investigates the thousands of particles that emerge from a heavy-ion collision collectively, providing information about the global, macroscopic properties of the quark-gluon plasma. The second kind focuses on various types of particle with large mass or momentum, which are produced more rarely and offer a window into the inner, microscopic workings of the medium.

    At the LHC, these studies are conducted by the collaborations behind all four main LHC experiments: ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb. Although ALICE was initially specifically designed to investigate the quark–gluon plasma, the other three experiments have also since joined this investigation.

    Global properties

    The LHC has delivered data that has enabled researchers to derive with higher precision than previously achieved several global properties of the medium.

    “If we listen to two different musical instruments with closed eyes, we can distinguish between the instruments even when they are playing the same note. The reason is that a note comes with a set of overtones that give the instrument a unique distinct sound. This is but one example of how simple but powerful overtones are in identifying material properties. Heavy-ion physicists have learnt how to make use of “overtones” in their study of the quark–gluon plasma. The initial stage of a heavy-ion collision produces ripples in the plasma that travel through the medium and excite overtones. Such overtones can be measured by analysing the collective flow of particles that fly out of the plasma and reach the detectors. While previous measurements had revealed only first indications of these overtones, the LHC experiments have mapped them out in detail. Combined with other strides in precision, these data have been used by theorists to characterise the plasma’s properties, such as its temperature, energy density and frictional resistance, which is smaller than that of any other known fluid,” explains Wiedemann.

    These findings have then been supported in multiple ways. For instance, the ALICE collaboration estimated the temperature of the plasma by studying photons that are emitted by the hot fireball. The estimated temperature, about 300 MeV (1 MeV is about 10^10 kelvin), is above the predicted temperature necessary for the plasma to be created (about 160 MeV), and is about 40% higher than the one obtained by the RHIC collider.

    Another example is the estimation of the energy density of the plasma in the initial stage of the collisions. ALICE and CMS obtained a value in the range 12–14 GeV per cubic femtometre (1 femtometre is 10-15 metres), about 2–3 times higher than that determined by RHIC, and again above the predicted energy density needed for the plasma to form (about 1 GeV/fm^3).

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    Particle trajectories and energy deposition in the ALICE detector during the last lead–lead collisions of the second LHC run. Credit: CERN)

    Inner workings

    The LHC has supplied not just more particles but also more varied types of particle with which to probe the quark–gluon plasma.

    “Together with state-of-the-art particle detectors that cover more area around the collision points as well as sophisticated methods of identifying and tracking particles, this broad palette has offered unprecedented insight into the inner workings and effects of the quark–gluon plasma.”

    To give a few examples, soon after the LHC started, ATLAS and CMS made the first direct observation of the phenomenon of jet quenching, in which jets of particles formed in the collisions lose energy as they cross the quark–gluon plasma medium. The collaborations found a striking imbalance in the energies of pairs of jets, with one jet almost completely absorbed by the medium.

    Another example concerns heavy quarks. Such particles are excellent probes of the quark–gluon plasma because they are produced in the initial stages of a heavy-ion collision and therefore experience the entire evolution of the plasma. The ALICE collaboration has more recently shown that heavy quarks “feel” the shape and size of the quark–gluon plasma, indicating that even the heaviest quarks move with the medium, which is mostly made of light quarks and gluons.

    The LHC experiments, in particular ALICE and CMS, have also significantly improved our understanding of the hierarchical “melting” in the plasma of bound states of a heavy quark and its antiquark, called quarkonia. The more weakly bound the states are, the more easily they will melt, and as a result the less abundant they will be. CMS was the first to observe this so-called hierarchical suppression for bottomonium states, which consist of a bottom quark and its antiquark. And ALICE revealed that, while the most common form of charmonium states, which are composed of a charm quark and its antiquark, is highly suppressed due to the effect of the plasma, it is also regenerated by the recombination of charm quarks and antiquarks. This recombination phenomenon, observed for the first time at the LHC, provides an important testing ground for theoretical models and phenomenology, which forms a link between the theoretical models and experimental data.

    Surprises in smaller systems

    The LHC data have also revealed unexpected results. For example, the ALICE collaboration showed that the enhanced production of strange hadrons (particles containing at least one strange quark), which is traditionally viewed as a signature of the quark-gluon plasma, arises gradually in proton–proton and proton–lead collisions as the number of particles produced in the collisions, or “multiplicity”, increases.

    Another case in point is the gradual onset of a flow-like feature with the shape of a ridge with increasing multiplicity, which was first observed by CMS in proton–proton and proton–lead collisions. This result was further supported by ALICE and ATLAS observations of the emergence of double-ridge features in proton–lead collisions.

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    As the number of particles produced in proton–proton collisions increases (blue lines), the more particles containing at least one strange quark are measured (orange to red squares in the graph). Credit: CERN)

    “The LHC data have killed the long-held view that proton–proton collisions produce free-streaming sets of particles while heavy-ion collisions produce a fully developed quark–gluon plasma. And they tell us that in the small proton–proton collision systems there are more physical mechanisms at work than traditionally thought. The new challenge is to understand, within the theory of the strong force, how quark–gluon plasma-like properties emerge gradually with the size of the collision system.”

    These are just examples of how 10 years of the LHC have greatly advanced physicists’ knowledge of the quark–gluon plasma and thus of the early universe. And with data from the machine’s second run still being analysed and more data to come from the next run and the High-Luminosity LHC, the LHC’s successor, an even more detailed understanding of this unique state of matter is bound to emerge, perhaps with new surprises in the mix.

    “The coming decade at the LHC offers many opportunities for further exploration of the quark–gluon plasma,” says Musa. “The expected tenfold increase in the number of lead–lead collisions should both increase the precision of measurements of known probes of the medium and give us access to new probes. In addition, we plan to explore collisions between lighter nuclei, which could cast further light on the nature of the medium.”

    See the full article here.


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  • richardmitnick 1:31 pm on April 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “Crabs settled in the tunnel” 

    Cern New Bloc

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    CERN

    23 Apr 2018
    Giovanna Vandoni

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    CERN scientist, Giovanna Vandoni, coordinated the recent installation of crab cavities. (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN)

    The High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) project aims at increasing the number of collisions in the LHC and consequently improving the precision of the experiments’ analyses. For several years, engineers, technicians and operators have been devising, designing and building the components, some of which are completely novel. Among these innovative components are the “crab cavities”, which will rotate bunches of the beams to increase the overlap between them and therefore the probability of collisions inside the experiments.

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    26 Sep 2017 — The two crab cavities have been put in their helium vessels and are currently being installed in their cryostat

    I have coordinated the recent installation of the cryomodule containing the first two prototype cavities in the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), where they will be tested this year.

    The Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), CERN’s second-largest accelerator. (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN

    Here’s the story so far in pictures. (Images from Julien Ordan and Maximilien Brice/CERN).

    4
    A January morning at 6 a.m., in heavy rain, all eyes are on the delicate operation of moving the cryomodule containing the first two crab-cavity prototypes from the SM18 hall to the SPS tunnel. The prototypes must be tested with a proton beam to validate their design and operation.

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    After a descent of 40 metres, the cryomodules are now in the SPS tunnel. Only another 40 metres or so to go to reach the test station. The movement of the cryomodule is monitored continuously by sensors: it must not be tilted by more than 10 degrees and acceleration must stay below 0.3 g. At the final location, a delicate lifting operation is undertaken: the cryomodule is taken up by high precision positioning jacks.

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    The cryomodule must be tested with a proton beam under real-life conditions, but without interfering with the operation of the SPS. It is therefore installed on a mobile transfer table, designed and fabricated by AVS Spain, allowing the crab cavities to be inserted into or removed from the beam line with almost micron-level precision.

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    CERN’s cryogenics team had to develop a mobile cooling unit – a first. Unlike the LHC, the SPS does not have a cryogenic infrastructure, but the crab cavities are superconductors and must therefore be cooled to 2 kelvin (-271 °C).

    8
    The last phase of the installation is the positioning of the cryomodule, which was first successfully tested above ground. In order to follow the movements of the transfer table, all of the services connected to the cryomodule must be articulated or flexible. This includes the radiofrequency power transfer lines and the vacuum chambers that connect the cryomodule to the SPS beam line. The vacuum chambers are articulated with bellows, allowing the cryomodule to be positioned in or out of the beam line without affecting the quality of the vacuum. Quite a feat of engineering. Finally, three flexible cryogenic lines transport coolant liquid and gas. Only once all of these flexible components are connected can the movement of the transfer table be tested.

    The engineer responsible for the transfer table controls its movement from above ground: the table begins to move, the two rotating parts that connect the radiofrequency power lines to the cavities slowly extend and the articulated vacuum chambers slide along their supports. But something isn’t going as planned with the cryogenic lines: they aren’t moving in the way they are supposed to. The team gets back to work to modify the vacuum chamber in which they are contained: cutting, moving and re-soldering. It’s February and only a few days to go until the SPS closes its doors…

    9
    The teams work relentlessly to resolve the problem. And finally… the cryomodule is ready for beam. SPS has now restarted and tests will take place this year.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:01 pm on April 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “CERN’s SPS experiments restart” 

    Cern New Bloc

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    CERN

    20 Apr 2018
    Ana Lopes

    The Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), CERN’s second-largest accelerator. (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN)

    At CERN, springtime usually marks the restart of the Laboratory’s experiments. But, while most eyes turn towards the restart of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its experiments, the research programme at the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), CERN’s second-largest accelerator, has also resumed.

    This month witnesses the restart of data taking for a range of experiments fed with particle beams from the SPS. These experiments are an essential arm of CERN’s experimental programme, addressing areas as varied as precision tests of the Standard Model and studies of the quark–gluon state of matter, believed to have existed shortly after the Big Bang.

    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.


    Standard Model of Particle Physics from Symmetry Magazine

    On 9 April, data taking restarted at three SPS experiments: NA58/COMPASS, NA62 and NA63. NA58 directs several types of particle onto a variety of fixed targets to look at the ways in which elementary particles called quarks and gluons combine to make up protons, neutrons and other hadrons. This year, the experiment is shooting quark­–antiquark pairs called pions at a proton target to collect the world’s largest data set on a hadron–hadron collision process called the Drell–Yan mechanism, in order to make a fundamental test of the theory of the strong interaction between quarks and gluons.

    NA62, another fixed-target experiment, aims to precisely test the Standard Model by looking for the super-rare decay of a positively charged particle known as a kaon into a positively charged pion and a neutrino–antineutrino pair. Earlier this year, the NA62 team reported the first candidate event for this decay, and the team aims to run the experiment for a record number of 218 days this year. If the Standard Model prediction for the number of events is correct, NA62 should see about 20 events with the data collected before the end of this year.

    NA63 fires beams of electrons or antielectrons at a variety of fixed targets, among them large diamonds, to study radiation processes in strong electromagnetic fields, like those seen in astrophysical objects such as highly magnetised neutron stars. On the cards for this year is a measurement of the so-called radiation reaction – the effect of the electromagnetic field emitted by an accelerated charged particle on the particle’s motion. Details of this effect are under debate, even though the effect has been known about for over a hundred years.

    The NA61/SHINE SPS experiment is set to restart data taking on 25 April. NA61 studies the production of hadrons using collisions between several types of hadron or nucleus and an assortment of nuclear targets. In store for this year are, among others, measurements of heavy hadrons with charm-type quarks produced in collisions between lead nuclei, and measurements of fragmentation of light nuclei. The first of these measurements are relevant for studying the quark–gluon state of matter, and the second are needed to understand the propagation of cosmic rays in the Milky Way.

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    Inside NA61, one of several experiments fed with particle beams from the SPS. (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN)

    These are not the only experiments benefiting from particle beams from the SPS. NA64 and AWAKE are both set to start taking data in the coming months. With such a rich diversity of experiments linked to the SPS, the accelerator is so much more than just a link in the accelerator chain taking protons to the LHC.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:44 pm on December 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN Proton Synchrotron Booster, CERN Super Proton Synchrotron, CERN-MEDICIS, ,   

    From CERN: “New CERN facility can help medical research into cancer” 

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    CERN

    12 Dec 2017
    Harriet Kim Jarlett

    1
    As in the ISOLDE facility, the targets at MEDICIS have to be handled by robots because they are radioactive (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

    Today, the new CERN-MEDICIS facility has produced radioisotopes for medical research for the first time. MEDICIS (Medical Isotopes Collected from ISOLDE) aims to provide a wide range of radioisotopes, some of which can be produced only at CERN thanks to the unique ISOLDE facility.

    CERN ISOLDE

    These radioisotopes are destined primarily for hospitals and research centres in Switzerland and across Europe. Great strides have been made recently in the use of radioisotopes for diagnosis and treatment, and MEDICIS will enable researchers to devise and test unconventional radioisotopes with a view to developing new approaches to fight cancer.

    “Radioisotopes are used in precision medicine to diagnose cancers, as well as other diseases such as heart irregularities, and to deliver very small radiation doses exactly where they are needed to avoid destroying the surrounding healthy tissue,” said Thierry Stora, MEDICIS project coordinator. “With the start of MEDICIS, we can now produce unconventional isotopes and help to expand the range of applications.”

    A chemical element can exist in several variants or isotopes, depending on how many neutrons its nucleus has. Some isotopes are naturally radioactive and are known as radioisotopes. They can be found almost everywhere, for example in rocks or even in drinking water. Other radioisotopes are not naturally available, but can be produced using particle accelerators. MEDICIS uses a proton beam from ISOLDE – the Isotope Mass Separator Online facility at CERN – to produce radioisotopes for medical research. The first batch produced was Terbium 155Tb, which is considered a promising radioisotope for diagnosing prostate cancer, as early results have recently shown.

    Innovative ideas and technologies from physics have contributed to great advances in the field of medicine over the last 100 years, since the advent of radiation-based medical diagnosis and treatment and following the discovery of X-rays and radioactivity. Radioisotopes are thus already widely used by the medical community for imaging, diagnosis and radiation therapy. However, many isotopes currently used do not combine the most appropriate physical and chemical properties and, in some cases, a different type of radiation could be better suited. MEDICIS can help to look for radioisotopes with the right properties to enhance precision for both imaging and treatment.

    “CERN-MEDICIS demonstrates again how CERN technologies can benefit society beyond their use for our fundamental research. With its unique facilities and expertise, CERN is committed to maximising the impact of CERN technologies in our everyday lives,” said CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Frédérick Bordry.

    At ISOLDE, the high-intensity proton beam from CERN’s Proton Synchrotron Booster (PSB) is directed onto specially developed thick targets, yielding a large variety of atomic fragments.

    CERN Super Proton Synchrotron

    CERN The Proton Synchrotron Booster

    Different devices are used to ionise, extract and separate nuclei according to their mass, forming a low-energy beam that is delivered to various experimental stations. MEDICIS works by placing a second target behind ISOLDE’s. Once the isotopes have been produced at the MEDICIS target, an automated conveyor belt carries them to the MEDICIS facility, where the radioisotopes of interest are extracted through mass separation and implanted in a metallic foil. They are then delivered to research facilities including the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), the University Hospital of Vaud (CHUV) and the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG).

    Once at the facility, researchers dissolve the isotope and attach it to a molecule, such as a protein or sugar, chosen to target the tumour precisely. This makes the isotope injectable, and the molecule can then adhere to the tumour or organ that needs imaging or treating.

    ISOLDE has been running for 50 years, and 1300 isotopes from 73 chemicals have been produced at CERN for research in many areas, including fundamental nuclear research, astrophysics and life sciences. Although ISOLDE already produces isotopes for medical research, the new MEDICIS facility will allow it to provide radioisotopes meeting the requirements of the medical research community as a matter of course.

    CERN-MEDICIS is an effort led by CERN with contributions from its dedicated Knowledge Transfer Fund, private foundations and partner institutes. It also benefits from a European Commission Marie Skłodowska-Curie training grant, which has been helping to shape a pan-European medical and scientific collaboration since 2014.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 2:23 pm on June 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN Super Proton Synchrotron,   

    From CERN: “Happy Birthday SPS!” 

    Cern New Bloc

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    CERN

    17 Jun 2016
    Corinne Pralavorio

    CERN Super Proton Synchrotron
    40 years ago this week, the Super Proton Synchrotron accelerated its first particles (Image: Piotr Traczyk/CERN)

    The Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), CERN’s second-largest accelerator, is celebrating its 40th birthday. But the 7-kilometre-circumference accelerator is not getting a break for the occasion: it will continue to supply the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and several fixed-target experiments with protons and heavy ions.

    The SPS began life in a particularly spectacular fashion. On 17 June 1976, the machine, a giant among its contemporaries, accelerated protons to 300 gigaelectronvolts (GeV) for the first time. During his announcement of the successful start-up to the CERN Council, the Director-General, John Adams, who had led the design of the SPS, requested authorisation to increase the brand-new accelerator’s energy. Just a few minutes later, it reached an energy of 400 GeV.

    A second key moment for the accelerator came five years later, when, in a real technological masterstroke, it was transformed into a proton-antiproton collider. This revolutionary collider allowed the discovery of the W and Z bosons two years later, an achievement for which the Nobel prize was awarded in 1984.

    Now an essential link in CERN’s accelerator complex, the energy of the SPS has been increased to 450 GeV and for 40 years the machine has been supplying various types of particles to dozens of different experiments, from the heavy-ion programme to studies of charge-parity violation (the imbalance between matter and antimatter) and of the structure of nucleons. At present, for example, it supplies particles to the COMPASS, NA61/Shine, NA62 and NA63 experiments, and it will shortly start sending protons to the new AWAKE project, which will test innovative acceleration techniques. The SPS also sends particles to test areas for equipment and detectors, including the HiRadMat project.

    Since 1989, when its big brother, the Large Electron-Positron Collider (LEP), was commissioned, the SPS has served as an injector, forming the last-but-one link in the accelerator chain. It supplied LEP with electrons and positrons until the end of 2000. It now accelerates protons and lead ions for the LHC, which replaced the LEP in the 27-kilometre tunnel.

    See the full article here.

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