The Latest from the LHC: Switching on the magnets

The architecture of the LHC, which is partitioned into eight cryogenically and electrically independent sectors, allows the commissioning of the machine on a sector-by-sector basis. When a sector reaches nominal cryogenic conditions (-271.3 °C or 1.9 K), and provided that the control systems (Quench Detection System and Powering Interlock Controllers) work correctly and give the clearance, powering tests can be performed on the magnets. Currently, three sectors are at nominal cryogenic temperature and powering tests are being carried out in all three of them.

Current began to flow in the magnets of Sector 1-2 at the end of August. This week, the sector was the first to be powered with the new, recently installed Quench Detection System (QDS).

Magnet powering tests have also started in two other sectors, namely Sectors 5-6 and 7-8, where the new QDS is being installed. The two sectors are now ready for tests with higher current – the so-called Powering Phase II.