Multi-million pound Large Hadron Collider upgrade project launched

18 November 2016


The Large Hadron Collider
(Credit: CERN)

A new multi-million pound international project led by the University of Manchester and Lancaster University, who are both part of the STFC supported Cockcroft Institute, has been launched to contribute to the upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva. The collider will be upgraded to the High Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) in the 2020s through a large international collaboration and the UK will make contributions in four areas through a £8M project HL-LHC-UK. The collaboration involves seven UK institutes.

The HL-LHC upgrade project will deliver cutting-edge research and essential components over the next few years, enabling scientists to look for new, very rare fundamental particles, and to measure known particles like the Higgs boson with unprecedented accuracy. It will do this by enabling the machine to deliver more collisions per second, called luminosity. This is a key performance indicator of an accelerator, as it tells you the number of particles colliding in a certain amount of time. Since discoveries in particle physics are based on collecting large amounts of data, then the greater the number of collisions and the more chance physicists have of seeing a new particle, probing physics below the world’s best collider sensitivity. The higher number of collisions also makes measurements of particle’s properties much more accurate, for example the properties of the Higgs boson. With this upgrade, the LHC will continue to push the limits of human knowledge, enabling physicists to explore beyond the Standard Model and Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism.

“This UK-CERN research agreement for HL-LHC confirms the key role of the British Universities and Institutes in the project and in pursuing technology developments beyond the present state-of-art” said Lucio Rossi, HL-LHC project leader at CERN.

“This exciting project will mean the UK will develop and deliver cutting edge components to the High Luminosity LHC, leading directly to the broadening of the measurement and new physics discovery potential of the machine,” explains project spokesperson Dr Rob Appleby of The University of Manchester. “This positions the UK as a key player in the high energy and high luminosity science discovery frontier”.

The HL-LHC-UK project, is an international project of seven UK research organisations who will perform cutting edge R&D and deliver essential hardware to the luminosity upgrade of the LHC, and is comprised of the University of Manchester (Cockcroft Institute), Lancaster University (Cockcroft Institute), University of Liverpool (Cockcroft Institute), University of Huddersfield (International Institute of Accelerator Applications), University of Royal Holloway (John Adams Institute), University of Southampton and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) (Cockcroft Institute).

Notes to editors


Corinne Mosese
STFC Media Officer

HL-LHC (High Luminosity LHC)

The full exploitation of the LHC is the highest priority in the European Strategy for Particle Physics), adopted by the CERN Council and integrated into the ESFRI Roadmap. The HL-LHC project funding was approved by the CERN Council in June 2014. To extend its discovery potential, the LHC will need a major upgrade around 2020 to increase its luminosity (rate of collisions) by a factor of 10 beyond the original design value (from 300 to 3000 fb-1). As a highly complex and optimized machine, such an upgrade of the LHC must be carefully studied and requires about 10 years to implement.

The necessity to upgrade the LHC has given rise to the HL-LHC project. HL-LHC relies on a number of key innovative technologies, representing exceptional technological challenges, such as cutting-edge 13 Tesla superconducting magnets, very compact and ultra-precise superconducting cavities for beam rotation, and 300-metre-long high-power superconducting links with zero energy dissipation.

About The Cockcroft Institute

The Cockcroft Institute is an international centre for Accelerator Science and Technology (AST) in the UK. It was proposed in September 2003 and officially opened by the UK Minister for Science, Lord Sainsbury, in September 2006. It is a joint venture between the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC at the Daresbury and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories). The Institute is located in a purpose-built building on the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus adjacent to the Daresbury Laboratory and the Daresbury Innovation Centre, and has established satellite centres in each of the participating universities. The University of Strathclyde is an associate member of the Institute and will become a full member this year.

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