China has announced that it will begin building the largest particle collider in the world by 2020, the state-run media reported. The goal is to better understand the Higgs boson, discover new particles and provide a better understanding of fundamental physics.
The current record holder for biggest particle-smasher is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. With a circumference of 27 kilometers (17 miles), the LHC is the most complex experimental facility ever built, and the world's largest single machine.
The LHC proved the existence of the Higgs Boson in 2012, confirming the proposed mechanism that gives particles mass. It was shut down between 2013 and 2015 to be upgraded, and it is now back online and twice as powerful.
China plans to build a machine that is twice the size and seven times as powerful as the current LHC. The final design should be completed by the end of 2016, according to Wang Yiganf, director of the Institute of High Energy Physics at the China Academy of Sciences.
"LHC is hitting its limits of energy level," Wang told China Daily, a state-run newspaper. "It seems not possible to escalate the energy dramatically at the existing facility."
"This is a machine for the world and by the world: not a Chinese one," he added, noting that physicists from around the globe had travelled to China to help with the project and that the initial design was peer reviewed by an international team.
CERN has also announced the beginning of the next phase for the High-Luminosity LHC, the major upgrade which is currently planned for 2025. The next phase will introduce a new high energy proton injector as well as an overhaul of the main collider tunnel. The High-luminosity LHC is planned to have 10 times more collisions per second, probing physics beyond the sensitivity of current instruments.
The proposed super-collider in China, which currently has no estimated completion date, is planned to be built in Qinhuangdao, a city 270 kilometers (170 miles) east of Beijing. The area has become a tech-hub in recent years and it is geologically stable, which is a must for a complex instrument like a super-collider.
Top Image Credit: The LHC tunnel by Ars Electronica, Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0