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Atom smasher experiment on March 30

world Updated: Mar 23, 2010 23:10 IST

AFP
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European researchers today said they would next week move to the next stage of the experiment that will recreate conditions close to the Big Bang that hatched the universe.

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said that it would try to carry out ultra high energy collisions between two microscopic beams of particles at a combined speed of 7.0 TeV (teraelectronvolts) in the world's most powerful atom smasher next Tuesday.

"Just lining the beams up is a challenge in itself: it's a bit like firing needles across the Atlantic and getting them to collide half way," said CERN's Director for Accelerators and Technology, Steve Myers.

The laboratory is currently running beams around the collider inside a 27-kilometre circular tunnel straddling the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva at the required record energy levels to test the control systems.

"With two beams at 3.5 TeV, we're on the verge of launching the LHC physics programme," Myers explained in a statement.

"But we've still got a lot of work to do before collisions," he added.

The 3.9 billion euro Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was restarted after a winter break last month to ready it for collisions at unfathomed energy levels.