Facts about the particle accelerator

May 14, 2012 | In: Technology Facts

Being one of the most controversial inventions in history, the particle accelerator is working on giving an answer to the biggest question man kind has to answer: Where do we come from?

What is a particle accelerator? It is a device that uses electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to very high speeds and to contain them in well-defined beams and direct them into various targets. An ordinary television set is a simple form of accelerator. There are two basic types: electrostatic and oscillating field accelerators.

Particle accelerators come in two basic types:
Linear – Particles travel down a long, straight track and collide with the target. These accelerators are huge, and are kept underground.
Circular – Particles travel around in a circle until they collide with the target. Circular accelerators do essentially the same jobs as linacs. However, instead of using a long linear track, they propel the particles around a circular track many times. At each pass, the magnetic field is strengthened so that the particle beam accelerates with each consecutive pass.

The biggest particle accelerator in the world is the one developed by CERN, found near Geneva, Switzerland.

The precise circumference of the LHC accelerator is 26 659 m, with a total of 9300 magnets inside. Not only is the LHC the world’s largest particle accelerator, just one-eighth of its cryogenic distribution system would qualify as the world’s largest fridge. All the magnets will be pre cooled to -193.2°C (80 K) using 10 080 tones of liquid nitrogen, before they are filled with nearly 120 tones of liquid helium to bring them down to -271.3°C (1.9 K).

The LHC accelerator raises many questions, including existential ones from Catholic officials. Be that as it may, the world will always seek for answers and if it finds them, there will always be new questions.

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