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New chapter for CERN research centre

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A new chapter has opened at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, or CERN, with a major upgrade that could reveal new secrets of the universe.

The 800 million-euro project is designed to improve the efficiency of the Large Hadron Collider, the 27-kilometre ring 100 metres below the French and Swiss border near Geneva.

By accelerating and colliding particles it provides clues on the formation of matter, basically on the origin of our universe.

Lucio Rossi, the project coordinator, said: "The accelerators are like a microscope that zoom into a picture, but in order to really see I also need the light otherwise I cannot see. The High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider involves a tenfold increase of this light."

The research centre says the overhaul will boost the "luminosity" of proton-smashing experiments.

Increasing the luminosity means more collisions and more chance of spotting something unusual.

The upgrade comes six years after the huge particle accelerator solved an enduring riddle by confirming the existence of the Higgs boson, the elusive particle which provided the answer to the question: where does matter get its mass from?