LS1 Report: on the home straight in 2014

At 7.24 a.m. on 14 February 2013 the last beams for physics were absorbed into the LHC, marking the end of Run 1. The achievements since then over the first ten months of LS1 have been remarkable. The excellent progress of the maintenance work on CERN's accelerators, which is overwhelmingly on schedule – and even ahead of schedule in some cases! – was praised by the CERN Council last week.


That being said, there is still a long way to go before the LHC re-start, with many challenges and potential pitfalls to be overcome. An overview of what still lies ahead:

  • For the injectors (Linac 2, PS booster, LEIR, PS and AD), 2014 will begin with the recommissioning of all the access systems (scheduled for mid-February). The first power tests (to check the magnets and the power converters) will follow hot on its heels, starting in early April in the case of the PS booster. The final power tests of the injectors will be carried out at the Antiproton Decelerator in June. The tests with beam will begin just before summer (in May in the case of the PS booster) and are scheduled to be completed, at the PS, by the end of July.
  • The cabling campaign currently under way at the SPS should be completed by the end of January. The stage is set for the first tests to be performed in June. The machine should be ready for physics in October 2014.
  • The first pressure tests will start in Sector 6-7 of the LHC on 15 January. This is a crucial step which the LS1 teams are awaiting with bated breath as it will allow them to assess the quality of the consolidation work. Sector 4-5, which is the last on the list, will undergo the same tests in August. Cooling will begin in May in Sector 6-7 and will conclude in September in Sector 4-5. The entire LHC should have been cooled to the nominal temperature of 1.9 K by the end of October. Finally, the power tests, which will begin in August, will be completed by the end of 2014.
  • The LHC experiments should start to be closed from November onwards. ATLAS and CMS will be ready for beam in November 2014; ALICE will be closed at the beginning of December, followed by LHCb in early January 2015.

Thanks to the know-how, motivation and commitment of hundreds of professionals at CERN, the LHC, its experiments and its injectors will be ready to start the next run in January 2015.

by Anaïs Schaeffer