Large Hadron Collider revamp promises massive power boost for fresh experiments

Work will allow it to perform the highest energy particle collisions ever attempted

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The Independent Online

Preparations for a dramatic follow-up to the discovery of the "God particle" will be taking place at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) throughout 2014.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is set for a massive power boost, paving the way for what could be a dramatic follow-up to the discovery of the so-called “God particle”.

Work on the upgrade will take place throughout 2014, and by the end of the year scientists say it will have had its particle energy boosted from eight trillion electrovolts, or teraelectronvolts (TeV) to 14 TeV.

The experiments at CERN which confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson in July 2012 completed the “Standard Model” of physics – a map of how interacting forces and elementary particles fit together.

With the LHC now shut for its refurbishment, scientists anticipated that work going “beyond the Standard Model” could be carried out in early  2015.

It opens up the possibility of solving the riddle of Dark Matter, finding evidence of a far-reaching cosmic concept known as “supersymmetry”, and even discovering signs of extra hidden dimensions that help explain the mystery of gravity.

Scientists may also uncover more Higgs bosons - different versions of the so-called “God particle”, predicted by Nobel laureate Professor Peter Higgs, that gives other particles mass.

Professor Tony Doyle, from the University of Glasgow, a leading member of the team operating the giant Atlas detector at the LHC, said: “The idea now is that with the last missing piece of the Standard Model in place, the search now is for things that go beyond it, primarily supersymmetry.”

Supersymmetry proposes that for every matter particle there is a corresponding force- carrying particle as well.

It requires not one but several Higgs bosons, providing new quarry for the LHC scientists to pursue.

“The universe being driven by supersymmetry is a really key idea,” said Prof Doyle. “At the moment we separate things that are force carriers and matter particles. Evidence of supersymmetry would change our whole view of what's happening out there. Each of these particles would basically be the same thing, but one's force and one's matter.

“Our world is made up of matter and forces and they are distinct, but at higher energy scales they would be interchangeable. That may have been how things were just after the Big Bang. The real question is, can we probe that?”

Additional reporting by PA