Plans for an international linear electron smasher - the ILC

Jul 26, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Artist's impression of the ILC tunnels. (Graphic courtesy of Fermilab/Sandbox Studio)

(PhysOrg.com) -- Physicists at the European particle physics laboratory CERN are planning a straight collider 31 kilometers long to complement the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and help them explain the mysteries of the universe.

CERN's 27-kilometer ring atom smasher, the LHC, only became fully operational in March this year, but the scientists plan to start building a new International Linear Collider (ILC), at a cost of $6.7 billion, in 2012 to smash electrons and positrons together. The only other linear electron collider is the 3.2-kilometer-long Stanford Linear Accelerator built in 1962 in California.

The tunnel will use superconducting magnets to accelerate electrons and their antimatter equivalents, positrons, towards each other at near speed. Construction is expected to take seven years. European director of the ILC project, Professor Brian Foster, said the linear collider would enable physicists to explore in more detail the findings of the LHC.

The ILC is expected to work with the LHC, which smashes protons together. Foster describes proton crashes as “dirty,” and said it’s like smashing two oranges together at 45 mph and hoping the pips hit each other head-on. In the proton, the “pips” are the quarks making up the proton, and often only one quark from each colliding proton will have a direct hit. Foster said the LHC is good at finding things, but it only gives physicists information on the maximum amount of a collision might involve, but tells them little about how the energy is distributed between quarks.

The ILC will give them more precise information on the high-energy frontier because it smashes electrons together, which are 2,000 times smaller than protons, and are not thought to contain sub-particles. When two electrons collide the released energy is known exactly. Electrons cannot be effectively collided in the LHC because the tunnel is a ring, and when electrons are bent by magnetic fields they emit X-rays, as do other particles. are so small that most of the energy pumped into an electron would only replace that lost as X-rays.

The International Linear Collider.

Some of the questions the ILC and LHC are attempting to answer include how many dimensions there are, why there are so many subatomic particles, what happened to the antimatter predicted by the Big Bang theory, and what does a Higgs particle (the so-called "God" particle) look like? The most prominent theory of how the universe works predicts the existence of a Higgs particle that gives matter its mass. If discovered, it could pave the way towards a unification of the theories of quantum and general relativity.

The location of the ILC is not finalized, but somewhere close to CERN's headquarters in Geneva is likely because most of the physicists who will want to use it are there. Around 700 scientists based at 300 universities and laboratories are already working on the project. The exact length is also not finalized, and will not be decided until the LHC identifies the energy ranges of most interest. At this point the energy levels are expected to be about 0.5 TeV.

A session of the International Conference on High-Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Paris this week is being devoted to the ILC and other next-generation colliders.

Explore further: First dark matter search results from Chinese underground lab hosting PandaX-I experiment

More information: ILC - www.linearcollider.org/

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User comments : 23

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Gerben_Mulder
not rated yet Jul 26, 2010
lol the 2012 conspirators are going to freak out, they already were looking at the LHC like it was a doomsday machine...
Skeptic_Heretic
3.3 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2010
I have a feeling that we'll discover electrons are composed of other particles in this experiment. I don't think leptons are fundamental constructs.
Kedas
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2010
Since we need such a big machine to even find the particle it is very doubtful that it will have any practical use.

It is like some math people they only do math for the math.
Here they do the physics for the physics.
Very doubtful that what they find will be more important than the life's they did not safe with that money.

Drumsk8
3.1 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2010
Skeptic I agree, I am sure there will be something more fundamental found in the Electron, positron collisions. For a start being less messy will give better resolution to any findings.

VestaR practical science will more then likely come from these massive accelerators. Just because nothing is practical for now doesn't mean that in 20 ,30 or 50years time when the technology to create and control them is developed could open up the possibility of a matter - anti-matter reactor or something even more bizarre which could change the face of humanity forever. How is Pluto, a dusty ice ball floating in an estranged orbit likely to help in our quest for understanding the building blocks of the universe? Or drive some form of new power source? (other then something that could reasonably fit in a space craft, and yes there is a satellite on it's way to Pluto so your science is already under way)
Drumsk8
3.9 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2010
VestaR if you have a problem with economics's go post on the economist! Your statements have merit but are completely devoid of any science.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2010
After all, what else the layman public should dispute by now - then just economy?
How about education? You're a prime example of a need for better and more thorough education.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.4 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2010
LOL, education for what?!?
That's what I figured you'd say.
CreationPhysics
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2010
"The only other linear electron collider is the 3.2-kilometer-long Stanford Linear Accelerator built in 1962 in California."

Except for the fact that Jefferson Lab's CEBAF (Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility) in Virginia is doing quite well, and in fact just wrapped up an experiment to attempt to find the A' boson, a potential dark matter candidate. It only does 6 GeV right now, but its 12 GeV upgrade is expected to be done by 2015.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.1 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2010
You didn't understand my point. The current state of collider research is just a rudiment of cold war arm race and strategical importance of nuclear physics in the mid of 50's.
Uhm, no, no it isn't. Mastering the fundamental forces is beneficial in all aspect of reality because they govern all aspects of reality.
Whereas in another areas of science, for example in biochemistry the results of research are finding their application nearly immediately.
Because it is far easier and less expensive to construct the tools required for implementing biomedical findings.

There's a large disconnect in how easy it is to do something and how to do it. Without particle colliders we wouldn't have the knowledge to build a VASMIR, which currently looks like the only way we'll ever get manned missions beyong Mars.

You're missing all the fundamental prerequisites using your manner of thinking. Hitting the moon needed more than Newton and found no aether.
Jigga
1 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2010
Without particle colliders we wouldn't have the knowledge to build a VASMIR
This is nonsense, it's technology is completely different.
Mastering the fundamental forces is beneficial in all aspect of reality because they govern all aspects of reality
All? There are thousands of aspects. Some are more important then the others, though. Actually I'm not sure, if you're realizing, mastering of cold fusion is more important for civilization, then the construction of nuclear weapons. But your ignorant stance is not so uncommon for many scientists, who are looking for safe & attractive jobs only, not for consequences.
Pharago
4.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2010
Experimental confirmation of any hypothesis is the only way to further develop said hypothesis, if we want to control our surroundings (and we certainly do), first we have to know what are they made of.

Our understanding about light and materials made possible the laser and nowadays there are lasers everywhere, we cannot predict what new discoveries and technologies will come out thanks to the experiments being carried out at the LHC, but the stakes as quite high, we are talking about what gives mass to particles, how does gravity really works.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.1 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2010
All? There are thousands of aspects. Some are more important then the others, though. Actually I'm not sure, if you're realizing, mastering of cold fusion is more important for civilization, then the construction of nuclear weapons. But your ignorant stance is not so uncommon for many scientists, who are looking for safe & attractive jobs only, not for consequences.

I'm not sure if "you're realizing" but whatever may govern LENRs, if they're happening, is being probed by relativistic collisions. The fundamental forces govern all of reality. The only time someone questions this is if they have God on the brain and believe in magic.

I don't doubt you suffer from either of the two aforementioned maladies.

The VASMIR is based on plasma physics and electromagnetic theory, both derived from particle colliders.

Again, a little education would do you good.
barakn
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2010
Collider physics pushes the boundaries of data storage, data transfer speed, and processing rates - much of this technology is designed by the physicists themselves. Collider physicists have advanced knowledge of the creation and maintenance of large superconductors, which will become useful in energy infrastructure, transportation, medical technology, and god knows where else. Knowledge gained from particle detectors and calorimeters will be applied to medical imaging equipment; radiation detectors used in the hunt for nuclear weapons and dirty bombs in the hands of rogue states and terrorists; scanners to check the integrity of roads, bridges, and buildings; and numerous unforeseen applications. The fact that Zephir can not think of any useful applications is more of a sign of Zephir's lack of imagination than anything else - this might explain the bizarre fixation on 19th century aether theory.
Jigga
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2010
plasma physics and electromagnetic theory, both derived from particle colliders.
Neither plasma physics, neither EM theory (developed in 1864 by Maxwell) is based on collider technology. You're complete troll.
..collider physics pushes the boundaries of data storage, data transfer speed, and processing rate..
The more reasons, why to stop such expensive experiments. And please, don't tell me, where the superconductors can be useful. Mainstream physicists are not only ignoring cold fusion, but the J.F.Prins experiments with room Tc superconductivity, too. It's just a bunch of ignorants, who don't care about some usage of technologies at all - they're consuming them instead.
schutza
4.5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2010
Look, pushing the boundaries of technology and physical understanding is beneficial to all fields of study (even economics), not just the theoretical physicists left jobless by the cold war (anyone still keeping track of those guys anyway?). I must say that VestaR's comments are a bit shortsighted, but I see his point. Problem is with cold fusion, there is simply no new physics to be done. We have been considering this problem for nearly a century and still nothing. With all the fancy theory we have, and strange physics beyond the standard model, we still can't get all those little nuclei past the coulomb potential without giving them a big kick over the hill (i.e. heat). If we want great new energy sources, we need to do great new physics, and right now that is being done in a collider.
Baseline
2 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2010
The only way to discover the truth is to keep going forward. The real issue that keeps nagging me is this, what is the real value of experiments coming from the LHC?

Suppose the LHC team does claim that they have discovered the Higgs. How are you going to go about confirming the results? Unless the LHC is operating at energy levels that other existing accelerators can achieve it would just be an unconfirmed result.

The cost and complexity of these experiments would make independent confirmation very difficult and in my mind no matter the oversight would leave the results inquestion until confirmed outside the LHC.

The stakes are too high and sadly man has proven he can not be trusted when very large sums of money are involved.

We need to be doing more science not less. I have many questions and I am certain others do as well and we want to know the answers even if they are not the ones we wanted or expected.
Jigga
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2010
we need to do great new physics
Cold fusion is even greater and newer one - and this is just its main problem. Higgs boson is predicted with existing theories - but cold fusion not. It doesn't serve to mainstream religion well - and such things are ignored.

We have been considering this problem for nearly a century and still nothing.

It's easy: because we aren't investing into it in the same way, like into Higgs boson finding, for example. And laymans are ignorants, who are reading headlines only.

http://www.physor...829.html

Actually the cold fusion events can be monitored by common infrared camera, which is incomparable with expensive detection of HEP stuffs, where physicists are tracing few events between billions ones for many years. With compare to some top quark the cold fusion is as real, as the moon on the sky.

http://www.youtub...V_qFKf2M

People don't realize, they're fooled with mafia, which ignores important finding for decades.
Jigga
2 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2010
Actually it's quite easy to distinguish fake effect from real, but ignored one: you can never find an attempt for replication in peer-reviewed literature. If you cannot find such attempt, it means, the phenomena is ignored by mainstream intentionally. Whereas Higgs boson is completely useless fake - so we can find thousands of publications about it. Every attempt for its detection is reported widely, because it's mainly show for public. Real findings and physics is researched in military bases on the quiet.
Isochroma
1 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2010
While the People starve and are forced into debt servitude at the individual and government levels, the rich are busy stealing billions of their tax dollars for more pie-in-the-sky 'science' 'experiments' like this one - the ILC and others like the LHC.

It's time to STOP sending money to these welfare dependents and instead SPEND THE PEOPLE'S MONEY FOR THE PEOPLE. No more corporate welfarism disguised as 'defense' or these other 'programs' like the perpetually failing 'tokamak' fusion that drain taxpayer dollars like so many black holes.

All those billions could go to build affordable housing, end poverty, support better wages for huge sectors of the populations whose wages are too low.

All those billions could be used to get government out of debt - out of the clutches of filthy rich private banks.

The money and the materials used to build these destructive projects is a theft from the people. It is a material theft and a theft of their time and labour.
Aliensarethere
5 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2010
From the article it sounds like it's the physicists who decide if the ILC is built or not. It's missing what the politicians think of the project.
MadPutz
2.3 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2010
Physicists, perhaps we may gain more long-term satisfaction and happiness by investing the funds in nanotechnology, biomedical, and robotics research before starting the next big project? Particle collision can wait a decade or two - the laws of physics don't change that much in the meantime.
otto1923
3.9 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2010
Actually it's quite easy to distinguish fake effect from real,
team jigga seems especially familiar with fake things like aether theories and multiple personalities.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 27, 2010
Physicists, perhaps we may gain more long-term satisfaction and happiness by investing the funds in nanotechnology, biomedical, and robotics research before starting the next big project?
You'll need power in order to explore these things.

You'll need more information on small scale reactions and quantum information for nanotechnology and biomedical.

I think you are not a physicist and shouldn't be using the statement "we".