The 40-year quest for knowledge about how our universe was formed has been concluded after the Higgs boson – otherwise known as the ‘God particle’ – has been found.
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland have proclaimed the discovery they have been searching for, and first suggested it existed, 40-years ago.
The discovery marks the largest step forward for physics in decades and aids with human kind’s understanding of the atom – and could lead to the creation of new technologies.
And this discovery would not have been possible with the usage of liquid helium to cool down the LHC’s superconducting magnets.
During the study all eight sectors of the LHC were cooled to their operating temperature of 1.9 kelvin (-271°C) - colder than deep space itself.
The large superconducting magnets that bend particle beams around the LHC are kept super-cool using large volumes of liquid helium.
However, a fault with two of the LHC’s magnets in September 2008 caused a large helium leak (thought to be a tonne of liquid helium) and the project was temporarily shut-down for repair and restart in 2009.
The LHC’s magnets are designed to be superconducting, which means they channel electric current with zero resistance and very little power loss.
But to become superconducting, the magnets must first be cooled to extremely low temperatures using a complex series of cryogenic lines and liquid helium as the refrigerant.
Technology and/or gases and services have been provided by industrial gas companies including The Linde Group, Messer and Air Liquide, at different stages of involvement in the historic LHC physics project.