Today the Large Hadron Collider reached a luminosity of 50/μb/s for the first time having fallen just short of that target a few days ago. That means that after 6 months of running at 3.5 TeV per proton they have now reached half of the planned target for 2010. Adding the other half to reach 100/μb/s should be a lot quicker, probably just 2 to 4 weeks. If they can’t do it that quickly they will run out of time for this year.
The latest runs with 152 bunches per beam have not run as long as the controllers would have liked. In each case the beams have been dumped prematurely due to a variety of faults including “UFOs”. These are thought to be flakes of dust from the beam pipe that fall into the way of the beams triggering losses and an automatic dump to protect the systems. This shows just how difficult the process of getting the LHC up to speed can be.
Despite running for only 6 hours the latest run still produced another 1/pb of accumulated luminosity, bringing the total to 10/pb. The next luminosity increase using 200 bunches per beam should start this week.
Update (4 oct 2010): The first run with 200 bunches per beam is now underway with intial luminosity of 68/μb/s which is 2.1/fb/year
Update (5 oct 2010): The run is still going after 12 hours with 2/pb delivered.