CMS celebrates the lowering of its final detector element

Jan 22, 2008

In the early hours of the morning the final element of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector began the descent into its underground experimental cavern in preparation for the start-up of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) this summer. This is a pivotal moment for the CMS collaboration, as the experiment is the first of its kind to be constructed above ground and then lowered, element by element, 100 metres below. It marks the culmination of eight years of work in the surface hall, and moves CMS into final commissioning before registering proton-proton collisions at the LHC.

The journey started 14 months ago, when the first of 15 elements of the CMS detector was carefully lowered, with just a few centimetres of leeway, by a huge gantry crane, custom-built by the VSL group. The final element is an asymmetrical cap that fits into the barrel element of the experiment and weighs around 1430 tonnes. It includes fragile detectors that will help identify and measure the energy of particles created in LHC collisions.

“CMS is unique in the way that the detector was constructed in very large elements in a surface assembly building and then lowered underground”, explained Austin Ball, CMS Technical Coordinator. “This is likely to become a model for future experiments, as the technique can now be considered proven.”

There are many advantages to planning an experiment in this way, such as the ability to save time by working simultaneously on the detector while the experimental cavern was being excavated. There were also fewer risks when working on the surface, and elements of detector could be tested together before lowering them.

Experiments at the LHC will allow physicists to take a big leap on a journey that started with Newton's description of gravity. Gravity is ubiquitous since it acts on mass, but so far science is unable to explain why particles have the masses they have. Experiments such as CMS may provide the answer.

LHC experiments will also probe the mysterious missing mass and dark energy of the Universe, they will investigate the reason for nature's preference for matter over antimatter, probe matter as it existed close to the beginning of time and look for extra dimensions of spacetime.

“This is a very exciting time for physics,” said CMS spokesman Tejinder Virdee, “the LHC is poised to take us to a new level of understanding of our Universe.”

Source: CERN

Explore further: Information storage for the next generation of plastic computers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Quirky quark combination creates exotic new particle

Apr 10, 2014

Since the spectacular discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the gigantic particle accelerator outside Geneva, have suffered a bit of a drought when it comes ...

Putting quarks on a virtual scale

Jan 20, 2014

For the last several years, much of the attention in particle physics has focused on the Higgs Boson, so one could be forgiven thinking that the rest of the subatomic particle world has been figured out. ...

Hunt for dark matter closes in at Large Hadron Collider

Jan 26, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Physicists are closer than ever to finding the source of the Universe's mysterious dark matter, following a better than expected year of research at the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) particle ...

CERN latest data shows no sign of supersymmetry – yet

Jul 25, 2013

Physicists at Liverpool played a significant role in the development of the VErtex LOcator (VELO), a precision silicon detector, at the core of LHCb. The VELO detector consists of 42 separate modules (shown here), which were ...

Recommended for you

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

10 hours ago

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

How to test the twin paradox without using a spaceship

Apr 16, 2014

Forget about anti-ageing creams and hair treatments. If you want to stay young, get a fast spaceship. That is what Einstein's Theory of Relativity predicted a century ago, and it is commonly known as "twin ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Robotics goes micro-scale

(Phys.org) —The development of light-driven 'micro-robots' that can autonomously investigate and manipulate the nano-scale environment in a microscope comes a step closer, thanks to new research from the ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...