Design Engineering

Canada gets in on the Large Hadron Collider, with TRIUMF taking the lead

Devin Jones   

General Quality Energy TRIUMF

Considered Canada's top physics laboratory, TRIUMF has announced a $2 million investment into the Hadron Collider in the form of five sophisticated super-freezers.


A photo of the Crab Cavity Housing, courtesy of TRIUMF

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is getting a major upgrade, and Canada is getting in on the subatomic action.

B.C.-based TRIUMF, Canada’s national particle accelerator, announced it is investing $2 million in the construction of five sophisticated super-freezers that make up the majority of the LHC upgrades. In addition, Canada’s Science Minister Kristy Duncan, said the federal government will kick in a $10 million-dollar donation toward the project.

“Great science knows no borders,” Duncan said in a statement. “Great scientists know that success lies in strong collaboration. Today, I am pleased to announce support for Canada’s outstanding researchers, engineers and technicians, whose combined efforts will further our reputation as a global leader in particle physics.”

Referred to as ‘crab cavity cryogenic modules’, these ‘cold boxes’ are designed to increase the likelihood of the subatomic particles smashing together as the two parallel streams cross paths. Using the cold boxes, researchers will be able to tilt and rotate the protons in a way that increases the chance of a collision. The increased number of collisions means the LHC will also require upgraded sensors that can withstand the higher volume of impact, as well as software capable of analyzing the vast quantities of data that comes from the massive structure.


Housed at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the Large Hadron Collider has long been a testament to the power of scientific collaboration with researchers, engineers and scientists from over 100 countries having worked on the project.

“From illuminating dark matter to discovering new particles and forces, Canadians will work alongside scientists from many nations,” said Dr. Jonathan Bagger, director of TRIUMF. “Through this work, Canada will increase its capacity for innovation and economic growth.  And TRIUMF is happy to help.”

Long known as Canada’s top physics laboratory, TRIUMF isn’t a stranger to this type of project, as they created something similar — dubbed the Canadian cyromodule — currently in use at their Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory. This work caught the attention of CERN and landed TRIUMF on the world stage of particle acceleration.

To help complete the cyromodule project, TRIUMF will pull from more than 250 researchers, graduate students and technical staff from leading Canadian universities, such as the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto and McGill University amongst others.


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