The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world, is about to pack a bigger punch. Currently shut down for renovations, the facility is due to come back online early in 2015. When it comes back to operation, the giant research tool will have more than 60 percent more power than before it was shut down.

Parts of the machine are already being restarted in preparation for the re-opening of the facility. A proton synchrotron (PS) accelerator which brings positively-charged subatomic particles to high speeds in a circular track, is back online for the first time in two years. In early July 2014, the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) is due to come back into operation.

"There is a new buzz about the laboratory and a real sense of anticipation. Much work has been carried out on the LHC over the last 18 months or so, and it's effectively a new machine, poised to set us on the path to new discoveries," Rolf Heuer, Director General at CERN said.

The main accelerator at CERN is 17 miles in circumference. Particles fly around facility 11,000 times every second, at nearly the speed of light.

Particle physicists measure the power of accelerators using a unit called Teraelectron-volts, or TeV. During the first three years, the largest unit at the facility conducted experiments between seven and eight TeV. After the upgrade, the accelerator will be capable of producing collisions of 13 TeV.

Parts of the CERN facility were constructed in 1959, and it contains 10,000 superconducting magnet interconnections to drive the drive to ultra-high velocities.

On 4 July 2012, physicists working at the facility announced the discovery of the long-sought-after Higgs Boson. That sub-atomic particle is believed by many researchers to provide mass to all matter.

Before shutting down, the accelerator ran for three years, sending sub-atomic particles crashing into one another, measuring the particles which form in the collisions. This is a little like trying to learn how automobiles are built by carrying out a series of head-on collisions, and studying the parts that fly off the cars.

With the upgrade in power, scientists at CERN would be able to carry out new-generation research in physics, including investigations into dark matter, an invisible substance that makes up nearly 85 percent of all matter in the Universe.

"We are now going to wake it up very carefully and go through many tests before colliding beams again early next year," Frédérick Bordry, CERN's Director for Accelerators and Technology, said.

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