In 2010 the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) approved its seventh experiment: the Monopole and Exotics Detector at the LHC (MOEDAL). The prime motivation of MOEDAL is to search directly for the magnetic monopole – a hypothetical particle with a magnetic charge.
The MOEDAL collaboration has built a detector to search for this particle. This monopole detector is an array of 400 modules, each consisting of a stack of 10 sheets of plastic nuclear-track detectors, the total area of which is 250 m2. This detector – deployed around the same intersection region as the LHCb detector – is like a giant camera waiting to photograph the telltale signs of new physics, and the plastic nuclear-track detectors are its "film".
If magnetic monopoles do exist, they could be formed in collisions in the LHC. These monopoles would rip through the MOEDAL detector, breaking long-chain molecules in the plastic nuclear-track detectors and creating a minute trail of damage through all 10 sheets. A clear indication of the path of a monopole would be an aligned set of holes with the trajectory pointing back to the collision point.
MOEDAL is also looking for highly ionizing Stable Massive Particles (SMPs), predicted by theories beyond the Standard Model.