Researchers at Geneva's Large Hadron Collider set a record for the amount of energy released by smashing two protons together in a head-on collision.
The scientists early Tuesday unleashed a pair of protons that circulated in opposite directions around the LHC's 17-mile track until they collided, releasing 7 trillion electronic volts (7 Tev) of energy—three times more than the previous record.
The point of the experiments is to learn more about subatomic particles, sometimes known as dark matter, that are believed to make up the fabric of the universe.
Tuesday's successful test was delayed by two hours as the researchers worked out technical problems, InformationWeek reports.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the $10-billion structure at Geneva collides particles at three times previous energy levels. It hopes to find smaller particles and make other physics discoveries.
Researchers were waiting for the promised flood of data that would come as protons from two particle beams from the 17-mile-circumference collider smashed into each other.
Several experiments using the particle accelerator could help test for smaller particles, dark matter, other dimensions, supersymmetry and other theories in particle physics, researchers said.
Rolf Heuer, director general of CERN, speaking from Japan, said the new collider "opens a new window of discovery and it brings, with patience, new knowledge of the universe and the microcosm. It shows what one can do in bringing forward knowledge." He added: "It will also bring out an army of children and young people who will get into the private sector and academia."
“We are all proud and so happy,” Fabiola Gianotti, a spokesman for CERN, said of one of the giant particle detectors at the collider, known as Atlas. Guido Tonelli, leader of a rival detector called C.M.S. said, “We are really starting physics,” New York Times reported.