Preparing for the future

The second annual meeting of the Future Circular Collider (FCC) design study took place from 11 to 15 April in Rome.


The participants in the second annual meeting of the FCC design study. (Photo: Vinicio Tullio/INFN)

More than 450 scientists, researchers and leaders of high-tech industry gathered in Rome to review the progress of the Future Circular Collider (FCC) design study.

The study was kicked off in 2014 as a response to a statement in the European Strategy for Particle Physics, and today embraces 74 institutes from 26 countries.

With the LHC programme well under way, particle physicists are at an exciting juncture. New results from the 13 TeV run could show that we are on the threshold of an eye-opening era that presents new challenges and calls for developments. “To prepare for its future, CERN should continue to develop a vibrant R&D programme that should take advantage of its strengths and uniqueness, pursue design studies for future accelerators and create opportunities for scientific diversity,” said Fabiola Gianotti, CERN Director-General, during her talk at the meeting.

Given the long lead times in the field of high-energy physics, the FCC study is exploring possible options for the post-LHC era. “As one of the high-priority items on CERN's agenda, the FCC design study is exploring a potential post-LHC accelerator project that will ensure the continuation of the world’s particle physics programme,” noted Frédérick Bordry, CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology, in his welcome speech.

The FCC would allow a rich physics programme during the 21st century, tackling some of the open questions in fundamental physics. The main focus of the FCC design study is a circular hadron collider able to reach energies an order of magnitude greater than those of the LHC (for protons). As a possible first step, a future high-luminosity electron-positron collider is being explored. Finally, a lepton-hadron collider scenario is also being examined, testifying to the richness of the FCC design study.

During the FCC week, progress in all aspects of the study was reviewed: from accelerator to detectors and experiments, including technological R&D developments and infrastructure. To build these machines, new ideas, vigorous technological developments, perseverance and worldwide collaboration are needed. “We must now focus on the established parameter set and use it as basis for optimisation work for the machines, detectors, and key technologies, required to build such a large-scale research infrastructure,” Michael Benedikt, the leader of the FCC study, concludes.

Participants in the 2016 FCC Week will meet again in 2017 in Berlin. The FCC collaboration is preparing to deliver a design report by the end of 2018, in time for the next update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics.

by Panos Charitos