HowStuffWorks “How does CERN synchronize timing devices?”

The Large Hadron collider measures 17 miles (27 kilometers) in circumference. It’s the biggest particle accelerator in the world, and cost more than $10 billion to build. But it’s just one of many amazing pieces of technology the scientists at CERN use in their physics research. CERN runs a number of linear and circular accelerators and other installations, like a mass separator and an antiproton decelerator, to conduct physics research. In some cases, tests at CERN are conducted over great distances: Neutrinos are regularly beamed from CERN to Italy’s Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) 450 miles (724 kilometers) away.

When particle accelerators beam matter across large distances at the speed of light, they naturally need to be timed with near-perfect accuracy. Despite the distance mentioned above, the speed of those neutrinos could be measured to within 10 nanoseconds. How does CERN manage that kind of accuracy? They use GPS, atomic clocks and a whole lot of optical cables to network together a vast array of technology.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s