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The History of Accelerators

Maximum Collision Energy

Maximum collision energy is obtained when two particle beams collide head-on.


To achieve very high collision energies, many of today's accelerators are colliders in which two particle beams are accelerated in opposite directions and are made to collide head on inside the accelerators. In these collisions practically all the particle energy can be used for particle production. This is the most efficient and economic way to obtain high collision energies to explore the interior of matter and to produce new particles. Huge detector systems surround the collision point and register what is happening in the collision.

In 2005 the new collider at CERN (the LHC, the Large Hadron Collider) is expected to accelerate protons to the highest energies ever. Two beams of 7 TeV protons will collide head-on and physicists will be looking for new processes like the Higgs mechanism.


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