Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterSave perhaps one, the typical CERN experiment makes use of low or high energy beams of particles. The high energies are achieved by boosting particles using different particle accelerators. Various data are then gathered using very sensitive detectors strategically placed in areas where collisions happen.
The accelerators in the CERN accelerator complex include the Proton Synchrotron (PS), the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Among the lowest energy experiments are those that make use of radioactive isotopes produced by the On-Line Isotope Mass Separator (ISOLDE). Most experiments conducted in the ISOLDE, a facility found in the Pronton-Synchrotron Booster (PSB), simply analyze the nucleus’ structure using different methods. However, experiments related to nuclear astrophysics, atomic physics, solid state physics, and even life sciences are also carried out there.
Higher energy experiments are conducted using the Proton Synchrotron. The PS drives high energy protons for two experiments: DIRAC and CLOUD.
DIRAC or DImeson Relativistic Atomic Complex is aimed to help provide a deeper understanding of the strong nuclear force, the force that binds quarks. For instance, scientists working on DIRAC are studying how this particular force behaves at longer distances. Gaining more insight on the strong nuclear force is crucial since quarks make up nucleons, i.e. the protons and nucleons.
Another CERN experiment conducted using the PS is the CLOUD or Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets, an experiment that strives to find a link between galactic cosmic rays and cloud formation. It is believed that cosmic rays influence cloud formation when they form new aerosols. Aerosols are already known to be among the particles that facilitate cloud formation.
Moving on to higher energy experiments, we go to COMPASS or COmmon Muon and Proton Apparatus for Structure and Spectroscopy, a CERN experiment conducted at the SPS. One particular question that scientists seek to answer by working on COMPASS is how much gluons contribute to the spin in protons and neutrons.
Finally, there are six major experiments to be conducted in the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the LHC. The LHC will make use of energies never before seen here on Earth. One of the main reasons for generating such high energies is to recreate the conditions during the Big Bang.
Among the experiments to be conducted in the LHC are ALICE or A Large Ion Collider Experiment, ATLAS or A Toroidal LHC Apparatus, CMS or Compact Muon Solenoid, LHCb or Large Hadron Collider beauty, TOTEM or TOTal Elastic, and LHCf or Large Hadron Collider forward.
We’ve got some interesting contents regarding the LHC here at Universe Today. Just click the links below:
- Large Hadron Collider Could Create Wormholes: a Gateway for Time Travelers?
- Large Hadron Collider Rap Is a Hit
Read more about the LHC on its official websites:
You might want to listen to some related episodes at Astronomy Cast as well: