London: CERN scientists are planning a next-generation circular collider with a circumference of 80 to 100 kilometres which will be much more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider which discovered the `God particle`.
The Geneva-based European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said that the time has come to look even further ahead.
CERN is now initiating an exploratory study for a future long-term project centred on a circular collider with a circumference of 80 to 100 kilometres.
A worthy successor to the LHC, such an accelerator would allow particle physicists to push back the boundaries of knowledge even further, CERN said.
LHC, which identified the Higgs boson particle in 2012, is housed in a 27-kilometre tunnel beneath the Franco-Swiss border.
The accelerator is currently undergoing an upgrade that will see its collision energies reaching up to 14 teraelectronvolts (TeV).
The Future Circular Colliders (FCC) programme will focus especially on studies for a hadron collider capable of reaching unprecedented energies in the region of 100 TeV.
The FCC study will be conducted over the next five years and starts with an international kick-off meeting at the University of Geneva from 12 to 15 February.
The FCC will run in parallel with another study that has already been under way for a number of years, the Compact Linear Collider, or "CLIC", another option for a future accelerator at CERN.
The aim of the CLIC study is to investigate the potential of a linear collider based on a novel accelerating technology.
The two studies will examine the feasibility of the various possible machines, evaluate their costs and produce conceptual design reports by 2018 to 2019.
"We need to sow the seeds of tomorrow`s technologies today, so that we are ready to take decisions in a few years` time," said CERN`s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Frederick Bordry.
Originally conceived in the 1980s, the LHC took another 25 years to come into being. This accelerator is just at the start of a programme which is expected to run for another 20 years, CERN said.
The HL (High Luminosity) LHC is CERN`s number-one priority and will increase the number of collisions accumulated in the experiments by a factor of ten from 2024 onwards.