The Large Hadron Collider has reached stable beams for the first time this year. This marks the start of the phase where all the setup processes are essentially complete and they will now gradually increase the luminosity by adding more proton bunches. If all goes well they could reach and possibly surpass last years record luminosities of 200/μb/s within just two weeks.
In the present run they are using 3 bunches per beam at 3.5 TeV and a beta* of 1.5m. This provided a peak luminosity today of 1.2/μb/s but this is with suboptimal bunch intensities. The bunch spacing being used is 75ns meaning they can get up to 900 bunches compared to the maximum of 368 achieved last year.
With stable beams declared the experiments can now start adding to the 40/pb data collected in 2010, however, the rate will be low until higher luminosities are reached. Serious data collection will not begin for another month after some scrubbing runs have been used to clean the beam pipes out of UFOs.