Published: Thu, January 17, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Cern-physicists are planning a huge particle accelerator

Cern-physicists are planning a huge particle accelerator

CERN has released a design report for the Future Circular Collider, which would be four times as big as the LHC.

Preparatory work on the FCC began in 2014, imagining a machine capable of providing "electron-positron, proton-proton and ion-ion collisions at unprecedented energies and intensities, with the possibility of electron-proton and electron-ion collisions". Since then, no new particles were at the LHC, however, have been sighted - much to the Regret of the particle physicists, who had cited as a Motivation for the construction of the LHC, the search for particles beyond the standard model, such as supersymmetric particles, or candidates for the mysterious Dark matter.

The discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC opened a new path for research, as the Higgs boson could be a door into new physics. CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti said that the FCC would benefit significantly from the expertise, accelerator complex, and infrastructures that were developed over the last 50 years.

CERN has been planning their next generation collider for years.

There are different types to be studied by particle collisions: First, the FCC would allow, unlike the LHC electrons and positrons collide with each other. The FCC is not the only plan to be considered: another option is a large linear collider, known as CLIC (compact linear collider).

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"The FCC's ultimate goal is to provide a 100-km superconducting proton accelerator ring, with energy of up to 100 TeV, meaning an order of magnitude more powerful than the LHC", said CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology Frederick Bordry. If approved, the new collider will go online after the LHC is retired by 2040. In addition, it would also collide heavy ions, sustaining a rich heavy-ion physics programme to study the state of matter in the early universe. The CDR says that it would cost some £20bn and will take around 30 years to build, with experiments starting in the 2050s.

China has also announced plans previous year to build a similarly sized accelerator, aiming for a 20-mile diameter ring, and 5x the LHC output. The cost estimate for a superconducting proton machine that would afterwards use the same tunnel is around 15 billion euros.

Plans for the FCC will be submitted next to an worldwide panel of scientists that will discuss and decide whether it will be included in the new European strategy for particles physics, which is due to be published in 2020.

The complex instruments required for particle physics inspire new concepts, innovation and groundbreaking technologies, which benefit other research disciplines and eventually find their way into many applications that have a significant impact on the knowledge economy and society.

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