The Future Circular Collider: Pushing the Boundaries of High Energy Physics

The world of science and engineering is filled with fascinating facts and groundbreaking discoveries. One such fact is the freezing of an underground river to enable the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The completion of the LHC marked a significant milestone in the field of particle physics, particularly with the discovery of the elusive Higgs Boson. However, despite its achievements, the LHC has reached its limits in terms of pushing the boundaries of our understanding of gravity and quantum physics. As a result, plans for a new and more powerful collider, the Future Circular Collider (FCC), are currently in motion.

Over the past few decades, particle colliders have played a crucial role in unraveling the mysteries of the universe at its most fundamental level. The LHC, with its impressive 27-kilometer circumference, has been hailed as the most powerful collider in the world. Nonetheless, scientists and researchers yearn for deeper insights into the workings of the universe, necessitating the creation of even more advanced colliders. By increasing the number of collisions and energy thresholds, these future colliders aim to revolutionize high energy physics.

The FCC study, an ambitious research project, explores various collider designs with hopes of constructing a research infrastructure housed within a 100-kilometer underground tunnel. This ambitious endeavor promises a physics program that will continue to push the boundaries of high energy research well into the next century. Despite its potential, numerous challenges loom over the design and engineering of the FCC.

Choosing the right location for the FCC poses a significant challenge. CERN, the European Council for Nuclear Research, must ensure that the tunnel avoids geologically interesting areas while optimizing collider efficiency and connectivity with the LHC. Furthermore, the project must take into account the social and environmental impacts of the surface buildings and infrastructure. To address these concerns, multiple layout options are being considered to minimize the project’s impact on the surrounding area.

Nestled within the proposed FCC tunnel, beneath Haute-Savoie and Ain in France, and Geneva in Switzerland, will be two colliders that will work in tandem. The first phase, scheduled for inauguration around the mid-2040s, consists of an electron-positron collider (FCC-ee). This collider aims to provide unprecedented precision measurements and uncover physics beyond the standard model. Following closely behind is the proton-proton collider (FCC-hh), capable of surpassing the energy capabilities of the LHC eightfold.

The FCC holds the promise of pushing particle collision energies to an unprecedented 100 TeV, with the hopes of unraveling new realms of physics. However, achieving this goal will require significant technological advancements. To facilitate these advancements, over 150 universities from around the world are actively exploring various options and possibilities.

As we stand on the brink of a new era in high energy physics, the Future Circular Collider represents the next evolutionary step in our quest to understand the universe. With its potential to reach unparalleled energy thresholds and uncover new physics principles, the FCC holds incredible promise. However, challenges in design, engineering, and location selection must be overcome to realize this ambitious project. The scientific community, together with international collaborations, is primed to take on this monumental endeavor, opening doors to a future filled with awe-inspiring knowledge and discovery.

Science

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