Colliders unite in the Linear Collider Collaboration

28 March 2013

The Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) and the International Linear Collider (ILC) – two studies for next-generation projects to complement the LHC – now belong to the same organization. The Linear Collider Collaboration (LCC) was officially launched on 21 February at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics.

The ILC and CLIC have similar physics goals but use different technologies and are at different stages of readiness. The teams working on them have now united in the new organization to make the best use of the synergies between the two projects and to co-ordinate and advance the global development work for a future linear collider. Lyn Evans, former project leader of the LHC, heads the LCC, while Hitoshi Murayama, director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, is deputy-director.

The LCC has three main sections, reflecting the three areas of research that will continue to be conducted. Mike Harrison of Brookhaven National Laboratory leads the ILC section, Steinar Stapnes of CERN leads the CLIC section and Hitoshi Yamamoto of Tohoku University leads the section for physics and detectors. The Linear Collider Board (LCB), with the University of Tokyo’s Sachio Komamiya at the head, is a new oversight committee for the LCC. Appointed by the International Committee for Future Accelerators, the LCC met for the first time at TRIUMF in February. The ILC’s Global Design Effort and its supervisory organization, the ILC Steering committee, officially handed over their duties to the LCC and LCB in February but they will continue to work together until the official completion of the Technical Design Report for the ILC.

Both the ILC and CLIC will continue to exist and carry on their R&D activities – but with even more synergy between common areas. These include the detectors and the planning of infrastructure, as well as civil-engineering and accelerator aspects. The projects are at different stages of maturity. The CLIC collaboration published its Conceptual Design Report in 2012 and is scheduled to complete the Technical Design Report, which demonstrates feasibility for construction, in a couple of years.

For the ILC collaboration, which will publish its Technical Design Report in June this year, the main focus is on preparing for possible construction while at the same time further advancing acceleration technologies, industrialization and design optimization. The final version of the report will include a new figure for the projected cost. The current estimate is 7.8 thousand million ILC Units (1 ILC unit is equivalent to US$1 of January 2012), plus an explicit estimate for labour costs averaged over the three regional sites, amounting to 23 million person-hours. With the finalization of the Technical Design Report, the ILC’s Global Design Effort, led by Barry Barish, will formally complete its mandate.

With the discovery of the Higgs-like boson at the LHC, the case for a next-generation collider in the near future has received a boost and researchers are thinking of ways to build the linear collider in stages: first as a so-called Higgs factory for the precision studies of the new particle; second at an energy of 500 GeV; and third, at double this energy, to open further possibilities for as yet undiscovered physics phenomena. Japan is signalling interest to host the ILC.

“Now that the LHC has delivered its first and exciting discovery, I am eager to help the next project on its way,” says Evans. “With the strong support the ILC receives from Japan, the LCC may be getting the tunnelling machines out soon for a Higgs factory in Japan while at the same time pushing frontiers in CLIC technology.”

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