The Asia-Pacific High Energy Physics Panel (AsiaHEP) and the Asian Committee for Future Accelerators (ACFA) have issued a joint statement urging a redoubled international effort to realize the International Linear Collider (ILC) at KEK, Japan’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization:
“AsiaHEP and ACFA reassert their strong endorsement of the ILC, which is in a mature state of technical development. The aim of ILC is to explore physics beyond the Standard Model by unprecedented precision measurements of the Higgs boson and top quark, as well as searching for new particles which are difficult to discover at LHC. The Higgs studies at higher energies are especially important for measurement of [the] WW [photon pair] fusion process, to fix the full Higgs decay width and to measure the Higgs self-coupling. In continuation of decades of worldwide coordination, we encourage redoubled international efforts at this critical time to make the ILC a reality in Japan. The past few years have seen growing interest in a large radius circular collider, first focused as a “Higgs factory” and ultimately for proton-proton collisions at the high energy frontier. We encourage the effort led by China in this direction and look forward to the completion of the technical design in a timely manner.”
The ILC is a next-generation energy frontier electron-positron collider. It will reach a center-of-mass energy of 500 GeV in the first stage and can be upgraded to an energy to 1 TeV in the future. It aims to precisely measure the properties of the Higgs particle and top quark, discover new particles and phenomena and search for new physics beyond the Standard Model of elementary particle physics.
The joint announcement from AsiaHEP and ACFA follows a similar one made by the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) in February, when members of the organization held a press conference in Tokyo.
“ICFA decided yesterday on its continuous study and support, and set up the sub group toward the realization of the ILC,” said Joachim Mnich, research director at DESY and the current chair of ICFA. He was joined by Nigel Lockyer, director of Fermilab, Fabiola Gianotti, director-general of CERN and Masanori Yamauchi, director-general of KEK.
In January, KEK issued an action plan detailing how to begin the ILC construction project under an international agreement. The study provides the basic information required to plan the technical actions, organization, human resources and training to realize formal approval of the ILC project and to ensure a smooth transition from a preparation phase into construction.
“The ILC is one of the tools for next-generation research, and around the world scientists are hoping for its realization. Now the Japanese government is carefully reviewing the project at the ILC Advisory Panel, and I hope a positive conclusion is reached,” Yamauchi said at the press conference.
Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) will decide when to move forward with the project. In May 2014, MEXT established the ILC Advisory Panel (ILC-AP), and has been studying issues pointed out by the Science Council of Japan (SCJ). And in June 2015, MEXT ILC-AP produced a report, “Summary of the International Linear Collider (ILC) Advisory Panel’s Discussions to Date.”
In KEK’s action plan, it says experiments could begin in as early as 2029 if a MEXT decision is issued and a preparation phase begins this year.