The European particle physics centre at CERN is to carry out a feasibility study on the possible construction of an enormous new collider that would dwarf the Large Hadron Collider.

The new generation circular collider would have a circumference of 80-100km, over four times the length of the LHC.

CERN's Future Circular Collider programme will focus especially on studies for a hadron collider, similar to the LHC, capable of reaching unprecedented energies in the region of 100 TeV, over seven times the power of the LHC.

CERN's argument is that it took 25 years for the LHC to be built, and so now is a prudent time to begin looking to the future.

It argues that the new collider would allow particle physicists to push back the boundaries of knowledge even further.

The LHC is currently shut down for repairs and maintenance.

When it resumes work in 2015 it will continue its search for answers to the questions that are fundamental to the universe, including about anti-matter and super-symmetry.

The FCC will run in parallel with another study that has already been under way for a number of years into 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.