After achieving record beam energies last month, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have successfully carried out the first collisions in this new regime.
In this game of "the bigger the better," the LHC is now colliding protons at 8 Tera-electronvolts (TeV) - a huge step toward peeling back the frontiers of high-energy physics, culminating in the increasingly likely confirmation of the Higgs boson.
In the April 5 announcement, CERN said, "the LHC shift crew declared ‘stable beams' as two 4 TeV proton beams were brought into collision at the LHC's four interaction points ... The collision energy of 8 TeV is a new world record, and increases the machine's discovery potential considerably."
For the last year, the LHC has been running at 3.5 TeV per beam, allowing physicists to familiarize themselves with the machine operating in this previously unattainable energy range. By slamming two counter-rotating beams of protons at 3.5 TeV apiece, collision energies of 7 TeV have been possible.