Scientists have for some time been planning the post-LHC world at CERN, especially the Future Circular Collider collaboration. FCC members recently discussed and published options for the future large circular collider and more, mixing advancements in physics together with cost and technical challenges.
Using next generation and high-field superconducting magnets is part of FCC’s released plans, for example, in this case to create proton colliders that offer a wide range of new physics opportunities. FCC’s goals also include providing a 100 km superconducting proton accelerator ring with an energy of up to 100 TeV, according to Frédérick Bordry, CERN’s director for accelerators and technology. This means the future facility would be an order of magnitude more powerful than the LHC.
Reaching energies of 100 TeV and beyond would allow precise studies on how Higgs particles interact with each other, providing a thorough exploration of electroweak symmetry. FCC indicates such foreseen advancements would also allow access to unprecedented energy scales, providing scientists with multiple opportunities to look for new massive particles.
“Proton colliders have been the tool of choice for generations to venture new physics at the smallest scale,” says Eckhard Elsen, CERN’s director for research and computing. “A large proton collider would present a leap forward in this exploration and decisively extend the physics program beyond results provided by the LHC and a possible electron-positron collider.”
FCC does acknowledge, however, that a 90 to 365 GeV electron-positron machine with high luminosity could be a first step. Such a collider would be a very powerful “Higgs factory” that would make it possible to detect new processes and measure the known particles with precision never achieved before. These precise measurements, according to FCC, could provide a sign of new physics through possible deviations from the Standard Model expectations.
Such projections have led to positive anticipation across CERN. “The FCC conceptual design report is a remarkable accomplishment,” according to CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti. “It shows the tremendous potential of the FCC to improve our knowledge of fundamental physics and to advance many technologies with a broad impact on society.”
The particle physics community will be updating its strategy over the next two years, outlining a future discipline beyond LHC. The roadmap for the future should, according to the team, lead to crucial choices for research and development, including a plan to build a particle accelerator that will significantly expand knowledge of matter and the universe.
The group currently estimates that the cost of a large circular electron-positron collider would be around nine billion euros, including five billion to civil engineers for a 100 kilometer tunnel. But such a collider, according to the LHC, would serve the worldwide physics community for 15 to 20 years by offering extraordinary opportunities for the industry and helping to push the limits of technology further.