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International Journal of High-Energy Physics

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CERN Courier magazine: September 2017 digital edition

Cern Courier

Welcome to the digital edition of the September 2017 issue of CERN Courier

Particle physics and superconductivity are deeply entwined. Magnets built from superconducting cables, especially those made from niobium-titanium, allow higher-energy beams to circulate in colliders and provide stronger fields for particle detectors. The LHC is the largest superconducting machine ever, while two of its detectors contain superconducting magnets on an unprecedented scale, allowing the Higgs boson to be discovered five years ago. Demand for higher-performing machines, such as the LHC luminosity upgrade and future circular colliders, requires next-generation conductors such as niobium-tin and CERN is making rapid progress towards such technologies. After MRI, particle physics is the biggest customer for superconductor firms, and the ITER fusion experiment has also had a massive impact on global niobium-tin production. Alongside superconducting magnets has been a rapid evolution of superconducting radio-frequency cavities to accelerate particle beams – as showcased by the upgrade of the LHC’s predecessor, LEP, in the 1990s and today with the realisation of the European X-ray free-electron laser and a possible linear collider. A leap in performance is promised by high-temperature superconductors, which were discovered 30 years ago yet are still an enigma. CERN is making important progress in this domain and has initiated programmes to train the next generation of superconductivity researchers. Together with industry, particle physics is helping us realise the full potential of superconductivity.

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