Power to the LHC

It’s March already, and time for the LHC to wake up from its short winter break. The first of 7000 powering tests began on 4 March: the first step on the way to the first beams of 2016. It’s a tight schedule, with the powering tests scheduled for just 12 days before moving on to machine checkout and then commissioning with beam around Easter.


Last year marked a great start to Run 2. The objective for the year was to establish proton-proton collisions at 13 TeV with 25 ns bunch spacing, and in that we were successful, delivering four inverse femtobarns (4 fb-1) of data to the experiments. This was a great result but, to put it into context, the goal for the whole of Run 2 is to deliver 100 fb-1 by the end of 2018, so we still have a long way to go. 2015 was a learning year, and by the time we switched off for the end-of-year break, we had learned a great deal about how to operate this superb machine at the new higher energy, with shorter bunch spacing allowing us to get many more bunches of particles into the beam and thereby deliver more data to the experiments.

This year is the first full production year of Run 2 and our goal is to deliver 25 fb-1 during the proton-proton run, before switching to heavy ions as usual towards the end of the year. As always, safety will be our first concern, so we’ve scheduled around four weeks of beam commissioning before we declare stable beams. Then we’ll start with low intensity, before increasing steadily in intensity towards the target of 2748 bunches per beam in early summer.

It would be easy to think that LHC running is becoming routine, and in many ways it is. Nevertheless, the year-end technical stop is a vital part of the running cycle and much has been accomplished over this short winter break. I’d therefore like to thank everyone, from both the machine and the experiment teams, for the great work accomplished and the fantastic team spirit that has reigned throughout.

Frédérick Bordry, Director for Accelerators and Technology​​