The LHC 2012 run at a beam energy of 4 TeV has started, corresponding to a collision energy of 8 TeV, compared with the 7 TeV runs in 2010 and 2011. The data target for 2012 is 15 inverse femtobarns for ATLAS (and CMS), three times larger than the total until now. The LHC is scheduled to enter a long technical stop at the end of 2012 to prepare for running at its full design energy of around 7 TeV per beam.
Both the increased energy and the increased data will significantly extend the reach and therefore the opportunities to explore new physics. "By the time the LHC goes into its first long stop at the end of this year, we will either know that a Higgs particle exists or have ruled out the existence of a Standard Model Higgs," said CERN's Research Director, Sergio Bertolucci.
Similarly, searches for supersymmetric particles and other new particles with masses in the TeV range will benefit significantly from the increased energy and data.
The LHC run is discussed further in the CERN press release.