Particle Physics


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Home | European Strategy for Particle Physics Update

Skip to content. Science News Needs You Support nonprofit journalism. For more information on how we use cookies on our websites, visit our Cookie Policy. By Emily Conover September 18, If they could, they would have already The fact that no one has been killed by shots of dark matter suggests the mysterious substance is relatively small and light.

By Lisa Grossman July 25, Astronomy The highest-energy photons ever seen hail from the Crab Nebula An experiment in Tibet spotted photons with over trillion electron volts of energy. By Emily Conover June 24, Particle Physics Diamond detectors could aid the search for dark matter Elusive dark matter particles could be spotted when they slam into electrons or atomic nuclei within diamond, scientists say. By Emily Conover June 17, Particle Physics Physicists have finally figured out how pentaquarks are built The particles are made of up two smaller particles, stuck together like atoms in a molecule.

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By Emily Conover June 7, Quantum Physics An experiment hints at quantum entanglement inside protons Particles inside protons seem to be linked on a scale smaller than a trillionth of a millimeter. With a 29 km linear collider, you could reach energies of 1. Linear colliders are slightly less expensive than circular colliders for the same energy, because you can dig a smaller tunnel to reach the same energies, and they don't suffer energy losses due to synchrotron radiation, enabling them to reach potentially higher energies.


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However, the circular colliders offer an enormous advantage: they can produce much greater numbers of particles and collisions. The Future Circular Collider is a proposal to build, for the s, a successor to the LHC with a circumference of up to km: nearly four times the size of the present underground tunnels.

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While a linear collider might be able to produce 10 to times as many collisions as a prior-generation lepton collider like LEP dependent on energies , a circular version can surpass that easily: producing 10, times as many collisions at the energies required to create the Z boson. Although circular colliders have substantially higher event rates than linear colliders at the relevant energies that produce Higgs particles as well, they begin to lose their advantage at energies required to produce top quarks, and cannot reach beyond that at all, where linear colliders become dominant.

A number of the various lepton colliders, with their luminosity a measure of the collision rate and the number of detections one can make as a function of center-of-mass collision energy. Note that the red line, which is a circular collider option, offers many more collisions than the linear version, but gets less superior as energy increases. The proposed FCC-ee, or the lepton stage of the Future Circular Collider , would realistically discover indirect evidence for any new particles that coupled to the W, Z, Higgs, or top quark with masses up to 70 TeV: five times the maximum energy of the Large Hadron Collider.

This cannot be linear; it must be circular. The Future Circular Collider is perhaps the most ambitious proposal for a next-generation collider to date, including both lepton and proton options as various phases of its proposed scientific programme. They could be built elsewhere, like a site in Asia, but the cost would be more expensive than a site where the infrastructure like the LHC and earlier colliders like SPS already exist.

Just as the LHC is presently occupying the tunnel previously occupied by LEP, a circular lepton collider could be superseded by a next-generation circular proton collider, such as the proposed FCC-pp. However, you cannot run both an exploratory proton collider and a precision lepton collider simultaneously; you must decommission one to finish the other.

Every 25 nanoseconds, on average, a new particle bunch collides at the center-point of this detector. A next-generation detector, whether for a lepton or proton collider, may be able to record even more data, faster, and with higher-precision than the CMS or ATLAS detectors can at present. It's very important to make the right decision, as we do not know what secrets nature holds beyond the already-explored frontiers.

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Going to higher energies unlocks the potential for new direct discoveries, while going to higher precisions and greater statistics could provide even stronger indirect evidence for the existence of new physics. Some money could be saved if we build the circular lepton and proton colliders one after the other in the same tunnel, which would essentially provide a future for experimental particle physics after the LHC is done running at the end of the s.

The Standard Model particles and their supersymmetric counterparts. Supersymmetry is an idea that hopes to improve on the Standard Model, but it has yet to make successful predictions about the Universe in attempting to supplant the prevailing theory. However, new colliders are not being proposed to find supersymmetry or dark matter, but to perform generic searches.

Regardless of what they'll find, we'll learn something new about the Universe itself.

A last word

The most important thing to remember in all of this is that we aren't simply continuing to look for supersymmetry, dark matter, or any particular extension of the Standard Model. We have a slew of problems and puzzles that indicate that there must be new physics beyond what we currently understand, and our scientific curiosity compels us to look.


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  8. In choosing what machine to build, it's vital to choose the most performant machine: the ones with the highest numbers of collisions at the energies we're interested in probing. Regardless of which specific projects the community chooses, there will be trade-offs. A linear lepton collider can always reach higher energies than a circular one, while a circular one can always create more collisions and go to higher precisions.

    It can gather just as much data in a tenth the time, and probe for more subtle effects, at the cost of a lower energy reach. This diagram displays the structure of the standard model in a way that displays the key relationships and patterns more completely, and less misleadingly, than in the more familiar image based on a 4x4 square of particles.

    In particular, this diagram depicts all of the particles in the Standard Model including their letter names, masses, spins, handedness, charges, and interactions with the gauge bosons: i.

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    It also depicts the role of the Higgs boson, and the structure of electroweak symmetry breaking, indicating how the Higgs vacuum expectation value breaks electroweak symmetry, and how the properties of the remaining particles change as a consequence. Note that the Z boson couples to both quarks and leptons, and can decay through neutrino channels. Will it be successful? Regardless of what we find, that answer is unequivocally yes. In experimental physics, success does not equate to finding something, as some might erroneously believe.

    Instead, success means knowing something, post-experiment, that you did not know before you did the experiment. To push beyond the presently known frontiers, we'd ideally want both a lepton and a proton collider, at the highest energies and collision rates we can achieve.


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    There is no doubt that new technologies and spinoffs will come from whichever collider or colliders come next, but that's not why we do it. We are after the deepest secrets of nature, the ones that will remain elusive even after the Large Hadron Collider finishes. We have the technical capabilities, the personnel, and the expertise to build it right at our fingertips. All we need is the political and financial will, as a civilization, to seek the ultimate truths about nature. Particle physics now faces an incredible dilemma : try harder, or give up. It isn't just the technical considerations that should determine which collider comes next, but also where and how you can get the best personnel, the best infrastructure and support, and where you can build a or take advantage of an already-existing strong experimental and theoretical physics community.

    I have won numerous awards for science writing s Share to facebook Share to twitter Share to linkedin. ILC collaboration. Abramowicz et al. C 77, Latham Boyle and Mardus of Wikimedia Commons. Ethan Siegel. Read More.

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