Say hello to the particle accelerator of the future

Illustration for article titled Say hello to the particle accelerator of the future

Behold the International Linear Collider — a proposed 31-kilometer electron collider that could shed light on new areas of physics — including dark matter.

A five-volume report containing the blueprint for this futuristic particle physics project was published today by an international group of scientists. The designers say it will "compliment and advance beyond the physics of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN." The latest specs represent the "latest, most technologically advanced and most thoroughly scrutinised design for the ILC."

The new collider will be 4 kilometers longer than Hadron, and will consist of two linear accelerators that will face each other.


The report was handed over to the international oversight board for projects in particle physics, the International Committee for Future Accelerators ICFA.

“The Technical Design Report basically says that we are ready to go ahead,” noted Barry Barish, Director of the ILC’s Global Design Effort. “The technology is there, the R&D milestones have been achieved, the physics case is clear, and we could start construction tomorrow. All we need is a clear political statement, and there are strong signs from Japan that it could bid to host the project.”

CERN describes the machine and what it'll be capable of:

Organised by the Global Design Effort (GDE), a team of scientists from around the world, the ILC is an international endeavour that brings together more than 1,000 scientists and engineers from more than 100 universities and laboratories in over two dozen countries. Consisting of two linear accelerators that face each other, the ILC will accelerate and collide electrons and their anti-particles, positrons. Superconducting accelerator cavities operating at temperatures near absolute zero give the particles more and more energy until they collide in the detectors at the centre of the 31-kilometre machine. At the height of operation, bunches of electrons and positrons will collide roughly 7,000 times per second at a total collision energy of 500 GeV, creating a surge of new particles that are tracked and registered in the ILC’s detectors. Each bunch will contain 20 billion electrons or positrons concentrated into an area much smaller than that of a human hair. This means a very high rate of collisions. This high “luminosity”, when combined with the very precise interaction of two point-like colliding particles that annihilate each other, will allow the ILC to deliver a wealth of data to scientists that will allow the properties of particles, such as the Higgs boson, recently discovered at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, to be measured precisely. It could also shed light on new areas of physics such as dark matter.


Check out the entire Technical Design Report.

Image: Pablo Vazquez.


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If everyone wants to find out what's inside these particles so bad, why not just tell the NSA that particles hate our freedom.