Physics

CERN's proposed 100-km particle accelerator would run rings around the LHC

The proposed Future Circular Collider (FCC) would have a circumference of 100 km (62 mi), dwarfing the existing Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
The proposed Future Circular Collider (FCC) would have a circumference of 100 km (62 mi), dwarfing the existing Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
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The proposed Future Circular Collider (FCC) would have a circumference of 100 km (62 mi), dwarfing the existing Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
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The proposed Future Circular Collider (FCC) would have a circumference of 100 km (62 mi), dwarfing the existing Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

CERN, the European research organization responsible for operating the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), has released a report outlining a proposed particle accelerator that would be nearly four times as long and 10 times as powerful as its predecessor. Dubbed the Future Circular Collider (FCC) – for the time being at least – the LHC's successor would cost around €9 billion (US$10.26 billion) and could be up and running by 2040.

The LHC only recently celebrated its 10th birthday and is responsible for numerous scientific breakthroughs – most notably the confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson. Although the LHC still has plenty of physics secrets to uncover (it's currently undergoing a massive upgrade to enable higher energy collisions), CERN is already looking further into the future. Considering it took 10 years to build the LHC and its 27-km-long (17-mi) tunnel, it's probably a good idea to start planning for the FCC now.

The FCC collaboration's Conceptual Design Report (CDR) outlines different options for delivering a future large circular collider capable of delivering electron-positron, proton-proton and ion-ion collisions at unprecedented energies and intensities. The ultimate goal is to provide a superconducting proton accelerator ring with a circumference of 100 km (62 mi) that is capable of smashing particles at energies of up to 100 TeV – for comparison, the LHC set a world record in 2015 with collisions reaching an energy of 13 TeV.

The footprint of the FCC would overlap that of the LHC, allowing some sharing of systems. It's expected the cost of civil engineering to construct the first stage would run to around €5 billion (US$5.7 billion). It could begin operations by 2040 when the upgraded High-Luminosity LHC is due to wind down, and deliver 15 to 20 years of use to the worldwide physics community. A superconducting proton machine making use of the same 100-km tunnel would cost an additional €15 billion (US$17 billion) and could begin operations in the late 2050s.

CERN describes the FCC as a powerful "Higgs factory," enabling precise study of how Higgs particles interact with each other, as well as aiding in the search for new massive particles and being able to "significantly expand our knowledge of matter and the universe." It's also hoped the FCC will provide evidence to explain dark matter and the dominance of matter over antimatter, which don't fit into the Standard Model of particle physics.

While such goals are laudable, the astronomical price tag of the FCC is likely to give pause to many of the partner countries that will be called on to reach into their pockets – especially given the cost overruns of the LHC. But the 1,300 contributors to the FCC design study, from 150 universities, research institutes and industrial partners, would no doubt ask, what price knowledge?

Source: CERN

18 comments
Chris Coles
Two of the most senior scientists at CERN, have been provided with copies of a work clearly describing verifiable facts that cast great doubt upon the need for the continuance of the LHC, let alone for the likes of an FCC. As such one can only assume that the science of high energy physics is determined to continue with what will eventually become; a great financial scandal.
Nikola Milovic
It would be much better for science to use that money to understand the structure of the universe and the way of forming matter, using the consciousness and intuition that can get a link from the SEU (Spiritual entity of the universe). So far, this work was futile, and science knew nothing new, except that she thinks she found some particles in collisions that could be a blending block of the universe, which is a great misconception and ignorance. All these types of particles, which allegedly found in the collapses of "killed particles" in collisions, are just "dead-born" abortions, which are consistently derived from the substance Aether, which fills the whole universe and in which "submerged" and all subatomic particles are "submerged." Here is my offer: give me only 10% of the predicted amount for expanding this monster, and we will cheerfully solve many of the problems that destroy science, especially where vast resources are wasted without any benefit.
Brian M
Why 100 TeV and not 200? This looks likes a case of : If you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail, and if that doesn't work you just need a bigger hammer!
SK Banerjee
I will like to refer Page 156 of the recently published book by Late Stephen Hawking titled "Brief Answers To the Big Questions". I am refraining from typing the paragraph on this page, only quoting from this paragraph '....... We are not about to build particle accelerators that can probe distances that small (Planck length). They have to be larger than the solar system and they are not likely to be approved in the present financial climate. However, there are consequences of our theories that can be tested by much more modest machines" Disclaimer: To maintain continuity in the quotation I have added within bracket (Planck Length). Planck Length is referred in the same paragraph by author already. - SK Banerjee.
clay
America built and then shutdown the SSC in Texas. It was 54 Miles in diameter (~85km). It was defunded by the Clinton administration in the mid 90s. Bummer
Babaghan
It will create a black hole and suck our world away into the void.
MerlinGuy
What a waste of money. Forbes sets the bill for finding the Higgs Boson at the LHC at 13.5 Billion dollars. So what's the ROI on that? How is the world a better place after squandering such a gigantic chuck of taxpayers' money.
guzmanchinky
Let's just build one around the Earth already! Or maybe several times around the Earth? I love the probe of the tiny universe.
paul314
Although they do have the CERN infrastructure to start with, a micrometer-accurate tunnel through such mountainous terrain does seem a touch ambitious.
Grunchy
A huge chuck of money! Hilarious. What isn't hilarious, however, is the fact that such an accelerator is liable to set the Galaxy on fire. Now if France wants to take responsibility for such a crime against the Galaxy, then go right ahead.