In Brief
  • The Large Hadron Collider, one of the most powerful scientific tools in existence, is getting an updated camera which will be tested and revealed on May 1st.
  • Physicists hope that this improvement will allow them to uncover more mysteries within the dark sector of physics.

Heart Transplant

One of the greatest human achievements of all time is getting an important upgrade: The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), run by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). The machine is a particle accelerator that allows scientists to break apart atoms into their smallest possible components, by smashing them into one another.

The upgrade includes a new ultra-high powered camera to help physicists keep better track of particles at the center of the machine. The new camera is capable of capturing 120 million pixels at 40 million frames per second. Austin Ball, technical co-ordinator for the CMS experiment stated that, “It’s like substituting a 66 megapixel camera with a 124 megapixel camera.”

According to a CERN press release, “The heart of the CMS experiment is the pixel detector, the innermost instrument in the very heart of the CMS apparatus, the very point where new particles, such as the Higgs boson, are produced by the energy of the proton-proton collisions of the LHC accelerator.”

Dark Sector

CERN physicist Claire Lee describes the standard model of physics as a complete section of a larger puzzle. She says that the “Higgs-Boson that we discovered in 2012 is the final piece in our standard model puzzle…Now what we can do is possibly use this Higgs-Boson to access the other parts of the puzzle.” She goes on to say that the Higgs-Boson will act “like a Rosetta Stone” between standard model particles and “dark sector or hidden sector particles.”

The “dark sector” of physics is, simply put, the mysteries that remain within physics. From undiscovered particles to enigmatic dark matter, the dark sector encompasses the unknown. The LHC upgrades are going to help shed some light on the dark sector and hopefully lead to a more complete picture of the universe. These new upgrades will undergo several rounds of testing before the LHC is switched back on again on May 1st.