World’s largest cryogenic system set for start-up


The latest milestone in commissioning the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator and the subject of a major physics project next year, has been achieved after CERN director general Robert Aymar sealed the last interconnect in the world’s largest cryogenic system.

The LHC’s cryogenic system has the unenviable task of cooling up to 36,800 tonnes of materials to a temperature of -271°C – just 1.9°C above absolute zero. To realise this challenging brief, over 10,000 tonnes of liquid nitrogen and 130 tonnes of liquid helium will be deployed through a cryogenic system including over 40,000 leak-tight welds.

This latest landmark signifies the end of a 2 year programme of work to connect all the main dipole and quadrupole magnets in the LHC.

Lyn Evans, LHC project leader, enthused, “This is a huge accomplishment. Now that it is done, we can concentrate on getting the machine cold and ready for physics.”

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