ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
LHC magnet in the 27-kilometre tunnel at CERN (the European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC (large hadron collider) is an underground ring of superconducting magnets housed in a pipe-like structure, or cryostat. The cryostat is cooled by liquid helium to keep the operating temperature at just above absolute zero. The LHC works by accelerating two counter-rotating beams of protons to an energy of 7 tera electron volts (TeV). These beams then collide head-on near two powerful detectors, which detect sub-atomic particles in the collision. This magnet is not a cryogenic superconductor, but operates at room temperature to remove the halo of diffracted particles from the beams. The LHC is scheduled to start operating in May 2008.
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