GENEVA, Switzerland— Pfeiffer Vacuum is supplying turbo pumps and turbo pumping stations for use in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The world’s largest and most powerful particle physics research device is operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

The LHC has a circumference of 27 kilometers. It is used for learning what the universe is made of and researching the basic constituents of matter. Scientists collide proton and ion beams at nearly the speed of light. The accelerated particles travel in beam lines, which require ultra-high vacuum conditions.

“These beam lines are pre-evacuated with turbo pumping stations,” says Andreas Schopphoff, head of the R&D market segment at Pfeiffer Vacuum. “Turbo pumps with a very high compression ratio for light gases are responsible for generating the insulation vacuum. The vacuum is necessary for the operation of the superconducting magnets at a temperature of -271 C.

“The cooperation between CERN and Pfeiffer Vacuum is based on many years of working together in a spirit of trust,” notes Schopphoff. “We are very proud that CERN has chosen Pfeiffer Vacuum products again for its future projects.

“Generating the vacuum inside the LHC, measuring it and analyzing the partial pressure requires comprehensive vacuum technology, a major part of which is being supplied by Pfeiffer Vacuum,” says Schopphoff.

“Since the pumps’ application is one that has never been realized before, the technical requirements for this project are especially high,” adds Schopphoff. “The new order is for HiPace turbo pumps and HiCube turbo pumping stations that meet those high demands.”