CERN Accelerates its High Energy Collider Designs

A new proposal from CERN could dramatically increase the size and energy of collider designs.

CERN, physics, collider, TeV, quantum,Fueled by the ambition to discover even more about the fundamental science underpinning our Universe, researchers at CERN are already designing a replacement for their 5-year old Large Hadron Collider.

As part of an international study called the Future Circular Colliders program (FCC), scientists at the European nuclear research organization will begin looking into collider designs that will allow them even greater insight into the subatomic particles that form and bind our universe.

One of the projects being considered by the group is an 80-100km long circular collider named the TLEP. Designed to operate at energies nearing 100 TeV (Tera electron Volts), the TLEP would be almost 10 times as powerful as the 14 Tev LHC. With that energy physicist expect to be able to gain even more precise measurements of Higgs Boson and how it interacts with other matter while also exploring concepts like dark matter and supersymmetry.

While the usual political and financial problems associated with extremely expensive, high-energy physics are sure to shape the debate over any new CERN machine, another factor is poised to tip the scales as well.

According to some researchers at CERN the circular design and source material used in the LHC do not produce the best scientific results. To counter the TLEP design, a so-called Compact Linear Collider project (CLiC) is also being developed. Although the CliC machine will operate at a lower energy than the LHC it will use electron-positron collisions to explore regions of quantum space that are inaccessible to the LHC.

CERN, physics, collider, TeV, quantum,At the moment, both the TLEP and CLiC constituencies are working through their designs in preparation for CERN’s 2018/2019 European Strategy update meeting where a conceptual design report will be handed over to begin future funding operations.

Currently, there is no budget for a future collider and any machine of its capability would likely be a generation away from construction.

Regardless of which design proves more successful, CERN’s Director for Research and Computing, Sergio Bertolucci, has framed the need for these sophisticated machines perfectly: “We still know very little about the Higgs boson, and our search for dark matter and supersymmetry continues. The forthcoming results from the LHC will be crucial in showing us which research paths to follow in the future and what will be the most suitable type of accelerator to answer the new questions that will soon be asked”.

With scientific curiosity already beginning to outpace our technological infrastructure, planning for the long term can only push the creativity of the scientists and engineers that will use and design the future’s most advanced scientific instruments.

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Image and Video Courtesy of CERN