Saturday, August 23, 2008

CERN's Large Hadron Collider: the Proton Beam Failsafe

"CERN to Start Up the Large Hadron Collider. Now Here's How It Plans to Stop It"
IEEE Spectrum (August 13, 2008)

I suspect that the author may be one of these people who almost feared the world to end when CERN's Large Hadron Collider was powered up, but I could be wrong.

The article is a quite good description of one of the fail-safes built into the research tool:

"...Even the slightest malfunction could lead to a catastrophic accident, so CERN has spent nearly two decades devising an interlocking system of fail-safes. One of these is a method of safely purging a proton beam, which has a higher chance of becoming unstable the longer it is whipped around the circular accelerator. Every 10 hours the accelerator gets fresh beams. But first the old ones are dumped into specially designed absorbers called beam dump blocks...."

It's a good read, with photos and illustrations.

I've posted about the Large Hadron Collector (LHC) before: More:

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