Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Worldwide collaboration outlines future physics research at CERN

A control room at CERN the world's largest particle physics laboratory in Meyrin Switzerland DEAN MOUHTAROPOULOS GETTY IMAGESA control room at CERN the world's largest particle physics laboratory in Meyrin Switzerland
Cary Marshall | 17 January, 2019, 22:01

An accelerator, we should note, that would be four times bigger and up to 10 times more powerful than today's Large Hadron Collider, which is part of a particle accelerator facility on the French-Swiss border and which helped scientists in 2012 confirm the existence of the so-called God particle, the Higgs boson.

CERN, based in Geneva, said the particle's discovery had "opened a new path for research" and created a "door into new physics". The team at CERN is looking to the future with a much, much larger collider that is called the Futur Circular Collider (FCC) and has published the Conceptual Design Report (CDR) that shows different options for the future device.

The FCC study started in 2014 and stems directly from the previous update of the European Strategy, approved in May 2013, which recommended that design and feasibility studies be conducted in order for Europe "to be in a position to propose an ambitious post-LHC accelerator project at CERN by the time of the next Strategy update". The 100 TeV energy would allow more precise studies of how the Higgs particle interacts with other Higgs particles.

Under the new proposals, the new machine will be built in stages.

CERN said it was not possible to say exactly what benefits the new collider would bring to the world, but pointed out that the discovery of the electron in 1897 led to the electronics industry that now contributes $3 trillion annually to the world economy.

'The FCC timeline foresees starting with an electron-positron machine, just as LEP preceded the LHC.

Ultimately, the FCC would include a superconducting proton accelerator ring with energy of up to 100 tera electron volts, compared with a maximum 17 TeV in the current collider.

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The FCC design study was a huge effort, possible only thanks to a large worldwide collaboration.

This would enable a rich programme to benefit the particle physics community throughout the twenty-first century'.

This could allow scientists to detect whether there are any holes in the Standard Model (SM) that would indicate a new kind of physics exists.

Officials hope for a decision by CERN's 22 member states within the next few years about the project that would debut with an electron-positron collider at an estimated cost of nine billion euros (NZ$15 billion).

The LHC is now closed for a two-year maintenance period, which will likely last until 2020. The physics program with the FCC would begin by 2040. The cost estimate for a superconducting proton machine that would afterwards use the same tunnel is around 15 billion euros.

CERN also outlined plans to building another machine which will be incorporated into the same tunnel and is expected to come online in the late 2050s.

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