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World's biggest' particle accelerator to be 32 km long

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Cern scientists have upped the ante on the search of dark matter and are planning to build the world's biggest and most expensive particle accelerator - stretching up to a vast 32 kilometres.

The machine will surpass the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the particle accelerator that has a circumference of 27 km and was used in the hunt for the Higgs boson, the 'God particle' that gives matter its mass and whose discovery was announced last year.

The International Linear Collider (ILC), will smash subatomic particles together with such force that it could reveal evidence for new forms of matter and extra dimensions of space, The Sunday Times reported.

Some scientists are even calling it Einstein's telescope, because it would reveal why the physicist's equations work as they do.

The European launch at Cern, the particle physics laboratory in Geneva, this Wednesday will announce plans to build the particle accelerator and include a lecture by Brian Cox, the TV physicist, in the hope the project will inspire the same global fascination as Cern's hunt for the Higgs.

"The LHC is a very noisy machine. For every billion collisions we get just one Higgs boson. The ILC is a precision instrument designed as a Higgs factory," Lyn Evans, Cern's project leader for the ILC, said.

"It will produce millions of them, so we can study them properly and see if there is just one or several, as some theories predict," Evans said.

The ILC would comprise two giant 'guns', one accelerating electrons and the other particles of anti-matter called positrons to near-light speeds before smashing them together.

Evans said the new machine would complement the LHC, which has "many more years of life".

"The next enormous prizes for these machines is finding dark matter, which makes up most of the mass in the universe but so far has never been seen," he said.

The machine will most certainly be built in Japan. The country is so keen to host the machine that it will put up half the 8 billion pounds cost - much of which would be spent drilling the huge underground tunnels needed to house it, the paper reported.

First Published: Sun, June 09 2013. 15:10 IST