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What's the diameter of the tube where the protons fly around? I dont mean the overall diameter (~1-10 m), instead the inner most ultra-high vacuum tube where the protons are. The inner pipe, the capillary, the channel.. I would guess maybe 1 mm?

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    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is too localized $\endgroup$
    – Dilaton
    Jul 10, 2013 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ Where is the physics issue in this question ? $\endgroup$
    – Dilaton
    Jul 10, 2013 at 10:51
  • $\begingroup$ @dilaton for future reference, the custom close reason should be used to explain why it is off topic. ("too localized" is even more mysterious, explain why ). In this case you can simply say that it's not really useful to a wider audience :) $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2013 at 4:19
  • $\begingroup$ Among other aspects, the size of the vacuum tube (plus the chamber structure and material) determine the coupling impedance of the vacuum tube. The coupling impedance describes the electromagnetic interaction of the beam with the vacuum tube and if the impedance is too large, it leads to beam instabilities which compromise the operation of the accelerator. So it's a important question in accelerator physics. $\endgroup$ May 4, 2017 at 14:36

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I'm not into particle physics myself but I found this: The LHC: a look inside.

It says there:

Inside its two beam pipes, each 6.3 cm in diameter, proton (or heavy ion) beams travel in opposite directions (one direction in each pipe) in an ultra-high vacuum of 10-13 bar, [...]

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  • $\begingroup$ This is not really accurate. It is better to look directly in the LHC design report, chapter 12, which deals with the vacuum system. The bulk of the accelerator has cold bores (beam pipes) of 50 mm inner diameter, throughout all of the arcs down to cells 7. In the straight sections (insertion regions) various diameters are used. E.g. in the final focusing triplet magnets, the beam size is largest and consequently the aperture is enlarged. In all cold parts, there are also beam screens inside the pipe, to shield against synchrotron radiation/e-clouds. cds.cern.ch/record/782076?ln=en $\endgroup$
    – a20
    Apr 10, 2021 at 21:50
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The answer is not simple, though the diameter of the beam tubes is given by the link of Jonas's answer. The size of the beam itself is controlled by a series of magnets, and at certain locations the beam is collimated. In page 4 of this talk the emittence in the physics regions (squeezed) comes down to order of μm.So your mm guess must not be too far from the real beam size.

The thing is that a larger vacuum is needed in order to tune the beams efficiently, than the final size of the beams.

In addition technological problems in mm dimensions of metal etc parts will be more challenging and expensive then the extra space of vacuum in the tubes.

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According to this article the external diameter of the beam tube is 53 mm, and the wall thickness is 1.5 mm, so the internal diameter is 50 mm. Since this is a CERN server I assume it's trustworthy.

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