Scientists have announced plans to build a successor to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s biggest atom smasher located outside Geneva.
Plans for the €10 billion (SFr10.5 billion), 50-kilometre tunnel called the International Linear Collider were presented to the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Paris on Monday.
It could be built in Japan, Russia, the United States or at Cern (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), the home of the current collider.
Barry Barish, director of the proposed collider, told the conference that instead of sending atoms around tunnels, as at Cern and the smaller Tevatron at Fermilab near Chicago, scientists want a new-generation machine that will shoot them straight.
The new collider would accelerate electrons and positrons, their antimatter equivalent. He said the machine would try to solve “one of the puzzles of why we are here”. It is hoped to be built by 2025.
The LHC was launched in September 2008, but broke down days later when a badly soldered electrical splice overheated. Cern had to undertake a $40 million programme of repairs and improvements before restarting the machine in November.
Scientists are attempting to simulate the moments after the Big Bang nearly 14 billion years ago. In March, the LHC collided two protons, producing seven trillion electron volts.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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