The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest machine ever built by humans. Charged particles (protons and ions) are accelerated by very strong electrical fields almost to the speed of light and made to collide 100 meters below ground over 27 km of ringed tunnels in the LHC. For brief moments, this creates particles that could have been present at the beginning of the Big Bang. Highly sensitive detectors measure and analyze the radiation released as these particles decay. In the vacuum of the beam screen tubes, at temperatures close to absolute zero, innumerable superconductive magnets guide the particles along the correct path. The extreme conditions place special demands on the materials used in the production of the tubes. The roll-plated bands must maintain their special magnetic characteristics and mechanical stability even at -270°C, the operating temperature of the LHC.
“An important part of the particle accelerator comes from Heraeus. Our high-tech components are used in the beam screen, which are emitter wall tubes in diameters from 44 to 74 mm.“
Joachim-Franz Schmidt, head of production at Heraeus’ rolling mill
Heraeus gave the specially-produced steel for the accelerator’s beam screen a copper coating of just a few micrometers thickness. The resulting high-precision tubes carry the radiation released from the particle collision in the finished module.