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China has plans to build a particle collider that’s over triple the size of CERN’s LHC

Not one to be outdone by the West, China is reportedly preparing to build a super-sized particle collider that’ll dwarf the existing Large Hadron Collider operated by CERN. Chinese scientists will use its proposed Circular Electron Positron Collider (CEPC) to study Higgs boson particles, with the goal of learning more about the so called “God Particle” and possibly dark matter, which makes up most of the universe.

The CEPC collider will measure between 50 and 100 kilometers (31 to 60 miles) in circumference, which is significantly larger than the LHC, which measures just 27 kilometers (about 17 miles) around. It will generate seven times the energy of the LHC, allowing scientists to potentially create millions of Higgs boson particles in a single go.

To date, the LHC has only spotted hundreds of Higgs boson particles because “it generates Higgs particles together with many other particles,” explained Wang Yifang, director of the Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. “The proposed CEPC, however, collides electrons and positrons to create an extremely clean environment that only produces Higgs particles. The LHC is hitting its limits of energy level, it seems not possible to escalate the energy dramatically at the existing facility.”

Construction won’t begin for quite some time, however. Speaking to China Daily, Wang said that the scientists have completed the first conceptual design and submitted those plans for international peer review. A final conceptual design will be ready by the end of 2016. Construction of the fist phase of the CEPC will begin between 2020 and 2025 with a second phase planned for 2040. The second phase will see the establishment of a Super Proton-Proton Collider that will be powered by a 100 TeV proton collider. In comparison, the LHC currently operates a 13 TeV proton to proton collider.

Costs have yet to be detemined, but if the project is ever completed, the CEPC will likely be the largest, most expensive science experiment the world has ever seen.