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Large Hadron Collider Set to Fire in May 2015. Going Beyond God Particle?

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The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the biggest particle collider in the world, was instrumental in the discovery of the once theoretical Higgs boson, otherwise known as the God particle.

Scientists are hopeful that the atom smasher can make more crucial discoveries and help solve some of the mysteries of the universe once it restarts in 2015 after two years of being upgraded.

The LHC was shut down in February 2013 to undergo £97 million worth of upgrades and it will have double its power when it restarts by March 2015. The collider's two proton beams that measure less than a third of a human hair will now have energy comparable to the detonation of 154 tons of TNT.

Gabriella Sciolla, an experimental particle physicist working on the ATLAS experiment at the LHC said that doubling the collider's energy will have a big impact in the search for new particles because heavier particles can be produced with higher energy.

Experts believe that with the LHC punching more power, it could allow them to investigate other theoretical entities such as the evasive dark matter, one of modern astrophysics' mysteries. Once it restarts, the LHC could discover the particles that make up dark matter, the invisible and mysterious substance believed to constitute more than 84 percent of all matter in the universe.

Andrew Lankford, who also works on the same ATLAS experiment, said that larger energies at the LHC would allow scientists to increase the range of masses of suspected dark matter particles that can be examined.

The upgraded collider could also help scientists explore the suspected existence of other fundamental particles as well as produce microscopic black holes. Scientists, for instance, see potential in the LHC discovering the Z-prime or Z' boson, a particle that in theory, is a heavier version of Z boson, a particle associated with weak nuclear force.

Scientists also noted that it is possible that the LHC could discover other kinds of Higgs bosons with different masses and possibly with charge. Learning more about the interaction between Higgs boson and other particles is believed to shed light on the nature of dark matter.

"There could be very, very rare interactions between Higgs and dark matter particles that could shed light on what dark matter is," Lankford said. "Higgs could be a portal into the dark sector."

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said that the newly upgraded LHC is set to have its first collisions by May.

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