Yesterday, a commenter asked me a very good question that I realized I hadn’t yet addressed on this site. Answering it gives us a chance to look at real data from the Large Hadron Collider [LHC], and to see what differences will arise the machine’s energy is increased from 7 TeV to 8.
The protons that are smashed together at the LHC are made from many quarks, gluons and antiquarks. The proton-proton collisions take place at a definite energy: 7 TeV = 7000 GeV in 2011, 8 TeV = 8000 GeV in 2012. But what we’re mainly interested in — what can really create new physical phenomena for us to observe — are the collisions of a quark in one proton with an antiquark in the other proton, or the collision of two gluons, etc. These “mini-collisions” carry only a fraction — typically a very small fraction — of the total proton-proton collision energy. How high a fraction can they carry? and what are the motivations for increasing the energy from 7 TeV per collision to 8 TeV? Click here for the answer.