I attended the second Future Circular Collider (FCC) week that took place in Rome from 11 to 15 April. It was a very interesting event, covering amazing physics reach and important technological developments.
Many studies have been conducted to establish the physics reach of several accelerators that could be hosted in a new 100 km tunnel passing under lake Geneva. The FCC-ee machine will operate at different center-of-mass energies to produce unprecedented amounts of Z, W, and Higgs bosons. This will allow to measure the decays of these particles with incredible precision and hopefully to find shortcomings in the standard model.
The FCC-hh machine will reach energies of 100 TeV and allow direct searches of new physics particles with masses up to 10 TeV. It will also allow the measurement of the Higgs self couplings. The combination of the two machines is simply phenomenal.
A future 100 TeV proton-proton collider relies on the use of magnets with a nominal field of 16 Tesla, almost double compared to the 8 Tesla of the LHC superconducting magnets. Niobium-Tin (Nb3Sn) can sustain the current densities required to reach these high fields, but it is brittle and very expensive.
Nonetheless, the program is advancing well and the latest breakthrough occurred in the summer of 2015 at CERN, when a Nb3Sn magnet in RMC (Racetrack Model Coil) configuration reached the 16.2 Tesla mark.
I found incredibly interesting a presentation by Massimo Florio on the cost-benefit analysis of the LHC. The team that Florio assembled has concluded that there is a more than 90% chance that the LHC benefits outweigh the costs of construction and operation, taking into account the economic, educational and cultural benefits generated during its time of operation. The impact includes the development of new technologies, the training of doctoral students and young researchers, and cultural and major scientific breakthroughs.
(Written by D. Bortoletto)