CERN unveils successor to Large Hadron Collider

FFC would be four times the size of the LHC, making it the largest scientific instrument on the planet

Photo: CERN Artistic impression of a collision event at the centre of a future detector following preliminary design studies.

CERN has unveiled the blueprint for a huge 100 km-circumference particle smasher that would be used to study the Higgs boson in unprecedented detail as well as search for new physics in the latter half of the century. The conceptual design report for the €20bn Future Circular Collider (FCC) has been drawn up on 15 January, revealing that the machine would be four times the size of its successor, Large Hadron Collider (LHC), making it the largest scientific instrument on the planet.

It would consist of 80 km of bending magnets to accelerate the beam as well as quadrupole magnets that focus the beam before colliding them at two points in the ring. Linked with the existing LHC near Geneva, it is nevertheless expected to operate at four energies over a 15-year period.

“The FCC conceptual design report is a remarkable accomplishment. 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,” CERN Director General Fabiola Gianotti commented.

The collider would begin at 91 GeV, producing around 1013 Z bosons over four years before operating at 160 GeV to produce 108 W+ and W- particles for a two-year period. After that FCC would focus on creating a million Higgs particles, which would allow physicists to study the properties of the Higgs boson with an accuracy an order of magnitude better that what is possible today with the LHC, which would potentially point to new physics.

News come after in October the Chinese scientific community announced plans to build by 2030, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator that will be twice as large and seven times as powerful as CERN’s LHC. Breaking ground as early as 2021 and starting to take data by 2028, the Chinese behemoth was aimed at being in operation until 2055 and define the frontiers of particle physics for the next two generations.

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