Over the weekend, physicists and engineers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) nudged proton beam energies to a new record: 4 Tera-electron volts (TeV). This record comes shortly after CERN announced last month they'd be cranking up the juice through 2012.
"Record-breaking 4 TeV beams in the #LHC over the weekend (22h40 CET on Friday to be precise). First collisions at 4 TeV planned for April."
Now their goal of 4 TeV has been achieved, CERN aims to collide the first protons at this energy in April. As the LHC collides protons head-on, the counter-circulating protons speeding around the 11-mile ring of supercooled electromagnets under the France-Swiss border will have an effective collision energy of 8 TeV (double the beam energy).
Although these collision energies are impressive, the LHC still isn't operating at its designed maximum. In 2014, after the facility's routine 20-month shutdown, physicists hope that they will be ready to push beam energies to 7 TeV - culminating in collision energies of 14 TeV.