The future circular accelerator of CERN will leave the LHC small

The report with the design of the future CERN circular collider, a document with the different options to build this gigantic particle accelerator on the Franco-Swiss border, has been sent this week for publication.

The international scientific collaboration of the Future Circular Collider (FCC) has sent for publication the Conceptual Design Report (CDR), a four-volume document that presents the different options for building a large circular particle accelerator in the future.

This document shows the great opportunities for physics research that offers a new machine that operates at unprecedented energy and intensity, and describes the challenges, cost and schedule for its possible realization. In the next two years, the scientific community of particle physics will update the European Particle Physics Strategy, which will chart the future of the discipline beyond the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The discipline roadmap should lead to crucial decisions on research and development over the next few years, along with a vision to build the particle accelerator that succeeds the LHC and be able to significantly expand our knowledge of matter and the universe. The new report contributes to the European Strategy, in which the renewal process will examine the opportunity to build a future circular particle accelerator along with other options of accelerators to replace the LHC at CERN as the CLIC linear accelerator.

The discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC opened a new path for research, since this new elementary particle could be a gateway to new physics. Therefore, detailed studies of the properties of the Higgs boson is a priority for any high-energy physics accelerator in the future.

In addition, experimental evidence is required that accounts for physics beyond the standard model such as dark matter, or the predominance of matter over antimatter. The search for new physics, for whose discovery a circular accelerator will have great potential, is therefore of paramount importance to make significant progress in our understanding of the universe.

The design study of the FCC has been a great effort, only possible thanks to a great international collaboration. For more than five years and with the support of the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 program, this collaboration involves more than 1,300 scientists from 150 universities, research institutes and industrial partners who actively participate in the design effort and in the I + D of new technologies that prepare the sustainable development and the efficient operation of a possible future circular particle accelerator. Using a new generation of high field superconducting magnets, the FCC proton collider would offer a wide variety of new physics opportunities. Reaching energies of more than 100 TeV would allow studies on how the Higgs particle interacts with another similar particle, as well as a broad exploration of the role of electroweak symmetry breaking in the history of our universe.

Such a machine would also allow access to unprecedented energy scales, seeking new physics with multiple opportunities for great discoveries. In addition, heavy ions could collide, allowing a rich research program in this field to study the state of matter in the early universe.

The cost of a large electron-positron circular collider would be in the range of 9,000 million euros, including 5,000 million civil works to build a 100-kilometer tunnel. This accelerator would serve the global particle physics community for 15 or 20 years.

The research program could start from 2040, when the high luminosity stage of the LHC ends. The estimated cost for a proton superconducting machine that would use the same 100-kilometer tunnel would be around 15,000 million euros. This machine would start operating at the end of the 2050s.

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