The LHC will restart in May 2021, marking the beginning of Run 3, announced the CERN management on 13 December. Beginning two months after the initially planned date, Run 3 will be extended by one year, until the end of 2024, to maximise physics data taking. Then, during long-shutdown three between 2025 and mid-2027, all of the equipment needed for the high-luminosity configuration of the LHC (HL-LHC) and its experiments will be installed. The HL-LHC is scheduled to come into operation at the end of 2027 and to run for up to a decade. Its factor-five or more increase in levelled luminosity is driving ambitious detector upgrade programmes among the LHC experiments. The experiments are replacing numerous components, even entire subdetectors, often working at the limits of current technology, to increase their physics reach. The extra time incorporated into the new schedule will enable the collaborations to ready themselves for Run 3 and beyond.
Since the start of long-shutdown two in December 2018, extensive upgrades of CERN’s accelerator complex and experiments have been taking place. The pre-accelerator chain is being entirely renovated as part of the LHC Injectors Upgrade project, and new equipment is being installed in the LHC, while development of the HL-LHC’s Nb3Sn magnets continues above ground. On the morning of 13 December, civil engineers made the junction between the underground facilities at Points 1 and 5 of the accelerator – linking the HL-LHC to the LHC, and marking the latest project milestone (see image).
“The HL-LHC is in full swing and the machine and civil engineering is on track,” says Lucio Rossi, HL-LHC project leader. “The schedule is drawn up in a global way, taking into account every aspect of the machine, experiment and infrastructure readiness, entirely with the aim to maximise the physics. The overall HL-LHC timetable is flexible in the sense that it will depend on actual results.”