The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will begin colliding particles on Wednesday for the first time in 27 months, hoping to crack the mystery of “dark matter.”
The second phase of the experiments will provide data to the scientists at enormous energy levels of 13 tera-electronvolts (TeV), almost doubling the previous energy of the first three years of the LHC – where the elusive Higgs Boson’s existence was proved.
One TeV is about the energy of the motion of a flying mosquito. The LHC squeezes this energy into a space a trillion times smaller than a mosquito in a 27 km underground complex near Geneva.
Two beams of protons accelerated just below the speed of light will be sent through the circular tunnels and collided head-on with each other. The huge detectors of the LHC will collect data from these collisions for scientists to analyse.
The scientists hope to find clues of hidden dimensions which are thought to be collapsed in the first moments of Big Bang, the violent burst that created our universe, leaving us with the familiar three-space and one-time dimension.
Another hot topic would be the dark matter which is theorised to constitute 96 percent of the universe yet remains totally invisible since it doesn’t interact in anyway known to today’s physics.
“The only thing we really know is that there is 'new physics' because the model that we have is not complete,” said Luca Malgeri, a scientist working at CERN.
“It might be linked to dark matter or it might not. It might be linked to something totally new.”
Besides dark matter, CERN scientists expect to learn more about Higgs Boson, antimatter, and alternate theories of particle physics such as supersymmetry, which proposes that every particle has a massive hidden partner.
“We’re heading for unexplored territory,” Atlas team leader Professor David Charlton said. “It’s going to be a new era for science."