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Home / Science / CERN plans to build a much larger particle collider. Much, much, bigger.

CERN plans to build a much larger particle collider. Much, much, bigger.



CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, wants to build a particle collider that overshadows the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC has made important discoveries and the planned upgrade of its power ensures that it will continue to work on physical issues in the future. But in the end, it's not enough to reveal the secrets of physics. At some point we need something bigger and stronger.

Enter the Future Circular Collider (FCC). The FCC will outperform the LHC by an order of magnitude. On January 15, the FCC Collaboration released its Conceptual Design Report (CDR) outlining options for CERN's Future Circular Collider.

The FCC is part of CERN's Roadmap for the Future. In 201

4, CERN began studying the FCC concept to prepare for life after the LHC. The LHC will not go anywhere in the near future, it is currently being updated. But there is a limit to what it can do and a limit to how powerful it can be. Finally, a successor will be required.

"The FCC would provide collisions with electron-positron, proton-proton, and ion-ions at unprecedented energies and intensities …"

CERN News Release, January 15, 2019.

True Now this report is about about strategy and process. According to a CERN press release, Europe should be "able to propose an ambitious project after the LHC project at CERN until the next update of the strategy." It also states that "the FCC would use electron-positron, proton-proton and provide ionic ion collisions at unprecedented energies and intensities with the potential for electron proton and electron ion collisions. "

" The FCC concept design report is a remarkable achievement. It shows the tremendous potential of the FCC to enhance our knowledge of basic physics and to advance many technologies with a far-reaching impact on society, "said CERN Director General Fabiola Gianotti. "While facing major new challenges, the FCC would benefit greatly from CERN's expertise, accelerator complex, and infrastructures that have been developed over more than half a century."

The announcement focuses on the discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC. This was a remarkable discovery that was long predicted by theory. But there are many things we do not know about the Higgs boson yet, and to understand it, a more powerful particle collider will be needed than the LHC. Physicists believe that the Higgs boson could open a whole new door to physics, but to open that door requires a more powerful particle collider.

The FCC proton collider uses superconducting magnets of the new generation and offers many new opportunities for the study of physics. It is designed to have an energy of 100 TeV and higher, which means that Higgs particles can interact with each other with extreme precision.

The new particle collider will also use its power to study dark matter, understand the prevalence of matter over antimatter, and try to explain neutrino masses.

It could even find new massive particles and would allow a thorough study of the role of electroweak symmetry in the history of our Universe. The FCC also collided with heavy ions and relied on a rich heavy ion physics program to study the state of matter in the early Universe.

  Artistic impression of a collision event in the center of a future detector according to preliminary design studies. Photo credits: CERN
Artistic impression of a collision event in the center of a future detector according to preliminary design studies. Picture credits: CERN.

If built, the FCC would be in the same place as the LHC, the Geneva Basin. The new particle collider would have a diameter between 80 and 100 km.

"The ultimate goal of the FCC is to provide a 100-kilometer superconducting proton accelerator ring with energy of up to 100 TeV, which is an order of magnitude stronger than that of the LHC," said CERN's director of accelerators and technology by Frédérick Bordry "The FCC timeline plans to start with an electron-positron machine just as LEP preceded the LHC. This would allow for a rich program that benefits particle physics throughout the 21st century. "

" Proton colliders have been the means of choice for generations to dare new physics on a very small scale. A large proton collider would represent a leap forward in this exploration and significantly extend the physics program beyond the results of the LHC and a possible electron-positron collider. "Said Eckhard Elsen, director of CERN for research and computer science.

  A scene from CERN's video,
A scene from CERN's video "Designing the Future Circular Collider". The new particle collider would be built in the Geneva Basin near the LHC. Photo credits: CERN

The new particle collider would be a huge engineering project. The estimated cost is 9 billion euros for a 100 km tunnel. If everything goes according to plan, the physics program in 2040 will start right at the end of the High Luminosity LHC. The particle collider initially functioned as an electron-positron collider and serves the physics community for 15 to 20 years. Then in the late 2050s it became a superconducting proton machine using the same tunnel. That would cost an additional 15 billion euros.

  From the CERN FCC Press Kit. A Timeline of Particle Colliders. Picture credits: CERN.
A timeline of CERN particle colliders. Picture credits: CERN.

When the new particle collider is built, it will become the world center for particle physics research, as will the LHC. It will be a driver of innovation in technology, technology, science and industry. It will also train the next generation of physicists and researchers.

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