In Hunt for Dark Matter, a large Hadron Collider will be reimagined

In Hunt for Dark Matter, a large Hadron Collider will be reimagined ...

After COVID-19 delays, scientists at Europe''s physics research facility will fire up the 27 kilometers long Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the machine that found the Higgs boson particle.

Restarting the collider is a complex process, and scientists at the CERN centre have champagne on hand if everything goes well, ready to join a row of bottles in the control room commemorating landmarks, including the discovery of the elusive subatomic particle a decade ago.

"It''s not flipping a button," said Rende Steerenberg, the manager of control room operations, apologies Reuters. "This comes with a certain sense of tension and dubiousness."

Potential obstacles include the discovery of an obstruction, the sluggishness of materials due to a nearly 300 degree temperature swing, and the use of tens of thousands of magnets that help keep billions of particles in a tight beam as they cross the collider tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border.

According to Steerenberg, the system must perform "like an orchestra."

"In order for the beam to go around, all these magnets must perform the proper functions and the appropriate things at the correct time," he said.

The batch of LHC collisions observed at CERN between 2010 and 2013 demonstrated the existence of the Higgs boson particle, which, along with its linked energy field, is thought to be vital to the formation of the universe after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.

Nevertheless, many things remain to be discovered.

Physicists believe collisions are resumptional enabling them to make the most of their knowledge beyond the visible universe. Dark matter is thought to be five times more prevalent than ordinary matter, but does not absorb, reflect, or emit light. Searches have come up empty-handed.

"We are going to increase the number of collisions tremendously, and therefore the probability of new discoveries," said Steerenberg, who said the collider would continue until a second shutdown from 2025-2027.

2022, Thomson Reuters