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LHC upgrade could yield dark matter

April 2, 2013 at 8:16 PM

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 2 (UPI) -- A $105 million upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland could double its power and let scientists probe mysterious "dark matter," researchers say.

The improvements to the LHC particle accelerator, which last year enabled scientists to discover the Higgs Boson, will allow it to smash protons together at twice its current energy, they said.

That could start the hunt for dark matter, the "cosmic glue" responsible for giving the universe its structure, forming galaxies and holding them together.

Dark matter has never been observed, and its existence only inferred by a slight gravitational effect.

When the LHC reopens in 2015 after it revamp, physicists say, it may be able to re-create the conditions of the Big Bang and yield small amounts of man-made dark matter.

"If we could produce our own [dark matter] in the lab we would be able to study it and learn what it is made of, where it comes from and how it is related to normal matter," Alan Barr of the LHC's Atlas experiment, which helped find the Higgs, told Britain's The Daily Telegraph.

"That would also allow us to understand much more about what is the dominant form of matter in the universe."

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