Physics

Scientists Smash Ions Inside the Large Hadron Collider



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The first two things that scientists learned from smashing very specific lead (Pb 82) heavy ion particles together was that the resulting impacts produced far more particle releases than anticipated, and the temperatures of some "fireballs" reached 18 trillion degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 500,000 times hotter than the center of Earth's sun, as reported by History.com.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), was able to strip a few ions away from a lead bar, accelerate them through the 27 km (16.8 miles) underground ring until all the electrons were stripped off, and then crash the remaining particles into each other at just slightly less than the speed of light. These ions contain 82 protons per atom that produce 164 collisions per event, which is explained at SaCrIt along with some great images. This is compared to the previous capability of colliding only two protons per instance.

The resulting functions are described as "mini big bangs," which recreated some of the features hypothesized to have existed at the time of the cosmic Big Bang, as described by Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître in his "hypothesis of the primeval atom." A pair of unusual results of the mini big bangs turned out to be that the high temperatures melted protons and created a quark-gluon plasma (quark soup) which featured "jets" of particles that resemble observed phenomena in space. The jets are described and imaged at ArsTechnica.com. The quark soup was of a viscosity that seemed very different than the previously predicted super-heated gas-like substance which researchers expected.

It appears, then, that instantly following the Big Bang, a rapidly expanding viscous quark soup cooled to create protons and neutrons, which combined to form atoms and initiated the processes of building the initial matter for the cosmos.

Another result was that the particles released have not reached a maximum limit... yet. It appears that acceleration with higher densities of matter will generate far greater particle releases.

The LHC has been shut down for two months of maintenance, and should be back in operation for most of 2011 continuing this line of research, according to Reuters in December of 2010, via "Today's Zaman." However, the research teams have asked CERN to approve continuing through 2012 in order to seek the Higgs boson particle and then close a year later for modification during all of 2013.

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ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.history.com/topics/universe-began-as-liquid
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://sacrit.blogspot.com/2010/11/smashing-baby-heavy-lead-ion-collisions.html
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/12/getting-the-lead-in-turns-lhc-into-a-mini-big-bang-machine.ars
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.todayszaman.com/news-228713-cern-may-extend-initial-big-bang-research-phase.html