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Paul Jackson | CERN | Switzerland

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the rules!!

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

The first rule of *what just happened* is that you are not supposed to talk about it
The second rule of *what just happened* is that you are NOT supposed to talk about it.

More information and official “actually talking about what just happened” stuff to come.

Suffice to say, it’s a beautiful thing……and it looks like the world has not been destroyed 🙂

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Another side of shifting

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

It’s Sunday night at 10.05pm, and I’m at work. I am being afforded the chance to update in the blog again (seriously, someone tell me if I’ve posted a bit too much recently and I’ll tone it down) thanks to the beams again, this time though, the lack thereof. I am on shift, but not ATLAS shift. I am in the north area of the CERN prevessin site, situated on the French side of the border, here. That big building is where some of the test beams take place and as a member of the ATLAS 3d-pixel collaboration I am part of a small group testing 3d silicon sensors that could potentially be used in the ATLAS pixel detector upgrade. I won’t go into the details of this side of my work now (although it is quite exciting in my opinion) but just to mention a couple of things. I posted many words about the beam in the LHC late on Friday, November 20th, trying to relay the obvious excitement here at CERN about the first circulating, captured beams in the LHC for over 14 months! The particles contained in the LHC beams don’t appear out of nowhere though, they are the result of a long process, culminating in a machine called the SPS.
You can see the SPS in relation to the LHC on this post. The SPS stands for Super-Proton-Synchrotron and it’s the final injector for high-intensity proton beams for the LHC, accelerating protons from 26 GeV to 450 GeV. This is the energy of the protons in the LHC right now, so the LHC is not accelerating these bunches, only taking what the SPS feeds it and trying to capture and store them. The acceleration will come later.

For the purposes of my current test beam shifts we use the SPS as our source of particles. With the graphic below I’ll try to explain the multi-purpose way in which the SPS serves the CERN site.

The SPS Cycle Explained!

The SPS Cycle Explained!

For our test beams we are interested in steps 1, 2 and 3. The protons are injected into the SPS from the PS and then accelerated, they are then sent down beamlines to targets. What happens when the protons hit the target (we have been working at areas called H6 and H8 recently) is that they produce secondary particles, many of which are pions that are focused toward these experimental areas where we have equipment to record their presence and use the beam to test whatever sensors we put “in the beam”. The LHC gets the beam towards the end of this cycle, as the graphic shows.

Tonight though the beam hasn’t beam as spectacular as the other day:

Not every moment is a champagne moment

Not every moment is a champagne moment

Given that it’s after 10pm now and the picture tells you that we’re had a vacuum problem for over 2 hours we may be in for a long night. But we keep on trying….

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Captured beam!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

As reported on the CERN twitter, http://twitter.com/CERN, the beam has been captured!!
They are now attempting the second beam.

This is showing a huge amount of faith in this machine. The LHC operators clearly feel that they are ready to start understanding their accelerator, this is confidence boosting and exiting news. I should note at this point that the LHC isn’t strictly accelerating these beams. It is storing the beams and circulating them from the SPS, where the LHC receives injected beam as part of a complex accelerator system.
The SPS can be seen on the previous post where I showed an overview of the LHC ring.

I’m back at my home in France now and can hear several cars all beeping their horns very loudly. I sincerely hope this is related to the great work of the LHC operators.

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Event Displays

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Full description and pictures from the evenings achievements can be found here

ATLAS event displays and related information from the LHC restart in Nov 2009. We recorded today, Friday Nov 20, the first so-called “Beam Splash” events. For these events the beam in one arm of the LHC was dumped onto closed collimators located 140 meters upstream and downstream of ATLAS. The collision leads to a large number of detectable secondary particles longitudinally traversing the detector.

All displays shown here are produced very shortly after the data were taken, using unprocessed raw events from the ATLAS detector.

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circulate and dump!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

These guys are amazing, and they mean business.

more beam news

more beam news

Beams being circulated now. This is impressive stuff………

capturing! really?

capturing! really?

If we capture the beams this will be an amazing achievement in my opinion.

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The proud father!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

I think the CERN twitter update summarizes the current situation better than I can.
http://twitter.com/cern. For those who don’t like clicking on links:
“Beam 1 has made more than 500 turns of the LHC. The beam orbit is improving fast.”

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Splash!!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

When I was a nipper ‘Splash’ was a movie starring a rather lovely looking Daryl Hannah as a mermaid and Tom Hanks as some bloke. Nowadays, splash is what we call events when particle literally splash into the detectors.
So we are pleased to bring you the first splash event of 2009.

This is physics!!!

This is physics!!!

This is what data looks like going through ATLAS.
Gorgeous!

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the corks have popped!!!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

The champagne has been released. Beam has been circulated, making 2 turns (the two spots you can see in the picture I showed in my last post). Everyone is happy. There’s phone calls and text messages (it’s an ‘SMS’ in Europe but whatever) and emails being sent around.

Proudly exclaiming their beam achievements

Proudly exclaiming their beam achievements

As I predicted, ATLAS looks just the same!! Yaaay science!

As I predicted, ATLAS looks just the same!! Yaaay science!

The guys operating the LHC deserve a hearty round of applause. This has been smooth and impressive.

Now, the fun, and the real hard work starts.

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BEAM!

Friday, November 20th, 2009
no more words needed

no more words needed

Beam makes 2 turns!
Need I say more……you can clearly see the points on the plot above. We’re back!!!!

Beautiful!!!

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Getting even closer….

Friday, November 20th, 2009

OK, I hope my insisting to post on ATLAS’s progress towards seeing beam isn’t boring you. But like as not, if you’re reading this you’re probably mildly interested. So the scoop is we’re close, very close, and we could be ready for business soon.

Beam to point 8! Wow! That probably means nothing to you unless you know about the next picture.......

Beam to point 8! Wow! That probably means nothing to you unless you know about the next picture.......

LHC plan...in order to help you follow the beams path

LHC plan...in order to help you follow the beams path

Last year there were people trying to explain to every BBC reporter that the beam wasn’t just “slow” but it was being sent around each portion of the ring in turn. So we’re at point 8 now…….and I see an update coming in on this page that reads “Beam to point 1”.
You know what’s at point 1 don’t you: ATLAS!!

Alright, finger’s crossed. Here goes!

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