Washington: It has long been a subject for science fictions, but time travel could be a possibility for some tiny particles in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) based underground near Geneva, scientists believe.In a "long shot" theory, physicists proposed that the world`s largest atom smasher could be used as a time machine to send a special kind of matter backward in time.
They outlined a way to use the 27-km-long LHC particle accelerator to send a hypothetical particle called the Higgs singlet to the past.
There are a lot of "ifs" to the conjecture, including the major question of whether or not the Higgs singlet even exists and could be created in the machine, LiveScience reported.
"Our theory is a long shot, but it doesn`t violate any laws of physics or experimental constraints," physicist Tom Weiler of Vanderbilt University said in a statement.
However, if the theory proves correct, the researchers said the method could be used to send messages to the past or the future.
The Higgs singlet is related to another theorized but not yet detected particle called the Higgs boson.
This particle, and its related Higgs field are thought to confer mass on all the other particles, and its discovery could help scientists answer the question, why do some particles have more mass than others.
Writing on the research website arxiv.org, Weiler and fellow scientist Chui Man Ho explain that if the LHC manages to find the elusive Higgs boson then a Higgs singlet may be produced at the same time.
To prove their theory the team needs the LHC to show evidence of Higgs singlet particles and their decay products appearing at the same.
This particle may have a unique ability to jump out of the normal three dimensions of space and one dimension of time that we inhabit, and into a hidden dimension theorized to exist by some advanced physics models.
By traveling through the hidden dimension, Higgs singlets could reenter our dimensions at a point forward or backward in time from when they exited.
"One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes," Weiler said.
"Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example.
"However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future."
The search for the Higgs boson was one of the main motive behind building the LHC in the first place. Since the atom smasher began regular operation last year, it has yet to find evidence of the Higgs boson, but the machine is still ramping up to its peak energies.
First Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 00:48