The Large Hadron Collider, ten years after discovering the Higgs boson in the Higgs boson's discovery, is about to begin smashing protons at unprecedented energy levels as part of its quest for more information about the universe.
After a three-year hiatus for upgrades, the world's largest and strongest particle collider began resuming operations in April.
It will be in operation for almost four years, starting Tuesday at an energy record of 13.6 trillion electronvolts. This was announced by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), at a press conference last week.
It will send two beams protons, particles in an atom's nucleus, in opposite directions at almost the speed of light. They will travel around a 27-kilometer (17 mile) radius and bury 100 meters below the Swiss-French border.
The collisions will be recorded by thousands of scientists and analysed as part of a series of experiments including ATLAS, CMS and ALICE. This will allow scientists to explore dark matter, dark energie and other fundamental mysteries using the increased power.
A second, 1.6 billion collisions
Mike Lamont, CERN's head for accelerators and technology, stated that "We aim to deliver 1.6 billion proton–proton collisions every second" for ATLAS and CMS.
He said that the proton beams will now be less than 10 microns in diameter - a human hair is approximately 70 microns thick - to increase the collision rate.
They will be able to continue investigating the Higgs boson at the new energy rate. This was first observed by the Large Hadron Collider on July 4, 2012.
Because the boson was found to fit into the Standard Model, the mainstream theory that describes all fundamental particles and their forces, the discovery of physics revolutionized physics.
However, recent discoveries have raised concerns about the Standard Model. The newly upgraded collider will examine the Higgs boson more closely.
CERN director-general Fabiola Giganotti said that the Higgs boson was related to "some of the most profound open questions today in fundamental physics," and made the announcement a decade ago.
Lamont stated that this is a significant increase and paves the way for new discoveries.
Joachim Mnich is CERN's head for research and computing. He said that there was much more to be learned about the boson.
"Is the Higgs boson a fundamental particle? Or is it a composite?" He asked.
"Is it the only Higgs-like particle? Or are there other Higgs-like particles?"
"New Physics Season"
Experiments in the past have revealed the mass of Higgs boson and more than 60 composite particles predicted under the Standard Model, including the tetraquark.
Gian Giudice is the head of CERN's theoretical Physics department. He said that observing particles is just one part of his job.
He stated that particle physics is not interested in understanding the how. It wants to understand the why.
ALICE is one of the nine experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. It probes the existence of matter in the 10 first microseconds following the Big Bang. LHCf uses collisions to simulate cosmic radiations.
The collider will return in 2029 as the High Luminosity LHC after this run. This will increase the number of events that can be detected by a factor 10
The scientists also plan a Future Circular Collider, a 100-kilometer-long ring that will aim to attain energies of 100 trillion electronvolts.
For now, however, physicists eagerly await results from the Large Hadron Collider’s third run.
CERN declared, "A new season in physics is beginning."