CERN Proposes 100 Trillion Electron Volt Supercollider for 2040

The Future Circular Collider (FCC) collaboration submitted its Conceptual Design Report (CDR) for publication, a four-volume document that presents the different options for a large circular collider of the future. It showcases the great physics opportunities offered by machines of unprecedented energy and intensity and describes the technical challenges, cost and schedule for realization.

The FCC’s ultimate goal is to provide a 100-kilometer superconducting proton accelerator ring, with an energy of up to 100 TeV, meaning an order of magnitude more powerful than the LHC.

Using new-generation high-field superconducting magnets, the FCC proton collider would offer a wide range of new physics opportunities. Reaching energies of 100 TeV and beyond would allow precise studies of how a Higgs particle interacts with another Higgs particle, and thorough exploration of the role of the electroweak-symmetry breaking in the history of our universe. It would also allow us to access unprecedented energy scales, looking for new massive particles, with multiple opportunities for great discoveries. In addition, it would also collide heavy ions, sustaining a rich heavy-ion physics programme to study the state of matter in the early universe.

“Proton colliders have been the tool-of-choice for generations to venture new physics at the smallest scale. A large proton collider would present a leap forward in this exploration and decisively extend the physics programme beyond results provided by the LHC and a possible electron-positron collider.” said CERN Director for Research and Computing, Eckhard Elsen.

A 90-to-365-GeV electron-positron machine with high luminosity could be a first step. Such a collider would be a very powerful “Higgs factory”, making it possible to detect new, rare processes and measure the known particles with precisions never achieved before. These precise measurements would provide great sensitivity to possible tiny deviations from the Standard Model expectations, which would be a sign of new physics.

The cost of a large circular electron-positron collider would be in the 9-billion-euro range, including 5 billion euros for the civil engineering work for a 100-kilometer tunnel. This collider would serve the worldwide physics community for 15 to 20 years. The physics programme could start by 2040 at the end of the High-Luminosity LHC. The cost estimate for a superconducting proton machine that would afterwards use the same tunnel is around 15 billion euros. This machine could start operation in the late 2050s.

Enhancing the Large Hadron Collider to 27 TeV

The project would also include boosting the existing LHC with new more powerful superconducting magnets. The HE-LHC project features a pp collider, which extends the current energy frontier by almost a factor 2 (27 TeV collision energy) and an integrated luminosity of at least a factor of 3 larger than the HL-LHC.

FCC Hadron Collider

Recognizing that circular proton-proton colliders are the main, and possibly only, experimental tool available in the coming decades for directly exploring particle physics in the energy range of tens of TeV, the FCC study prepares for a 100 TeV hadron collider (FCC-hh) as the next step. FCC-hh will increase the mass reach by almost an order of magnitude and the integrated luminosity by a factor of 50 with respect to the LHC thus being able to access a large range of new physics opportunities.

Together with a heavy ion operation programme and the possibility of integrating a lepton-hadron interaction point (FCC-he), it provides the amplest perspectives for research at the energy frontier.

The total length of the arcs is 83.75 km. The lattice in the arc consists of 90° FODO cells with a length
of about 213 m and six 14 m-long dipoles between quadrupoles. The the dipole filling factor is about 0.8,
hence a dipole field just below 16 T is required to keep the nominal beams on the circular orbit.
The dipoles use Nb3Sn conductors at a temperature of 2 K to reach this field and are a key cost
item. A focused R&D programme to increase the maximum current density in the conductors to at least
1500 A/mm2 at 4.2 K temperature started in 2014 (currently 1200 A/mm2 has been achieved). Based on this performance, several optimized dipole designs have been developed in the EuroCirCol H2020 EC funded project – each implementing a different design concept. This allowed the amount of conductor material to be minimized and led to the choice of the cosine-theta design as the baseline. Collaboration agreements are in place with the French CEA, the Italian INFN, the Spanish CIEMAT, the Swiss PSI and the Russian BINP organizations, to build short model magnets based on the designs. In addition, a US DOE Magnet Development Programme is working to demonstrate a 15 T superconducting accelerator magnet.

If the FCC-hh is implemented following a lepton collider (FCC-ee) in the same underground infrastructure, the time scale for design and R&D for FCC-hh is lengthened by 15 to 20 years. Additional time will be used to develop alternative technologies, e.g. magnets based on high-temperature superconductors, with potentially a significant impact on the collider parameters (e.g. increase of beam energy), relaxed infrastructure requirements (cryogenics system) and increased energy efficiency (temperature of magnets and beamscreen).

Over the next two years, the particle physics community will be updating the European Strategy for Particle Physics, outlining the future of the discipline beyond the horizon of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The roadmap for the future should, in particular, lead to crucial choices for research and development in the coming years, ultimately with a view to building the particle accelerator that will succeed the LHC and will be able to significantly expand our knowledge of matter and the universe. The new CDR contributes to the European Strategy. The possibility of a future circular collider will be examined during the strategy process, together with the other post-LHC collider option at CERN, the CLIC linear collider.

19 thoughts on “CERN Proposes 100 Trillion Electron Volt Supercollider for 2040”

  1. Back in 2003 in ESTEC during a workshop organized by the European Space Agency about Future Low Cost Planetary Missions in the Future, I presented a design for something relatively similar… Congratulations on your work, and maybe there might be some way we could cooperate in the future, who knows?

  2. Eventually, the Water Striders met my squirt gun full of soapy water. The reduced surface tension causes them to wet, and then drown. No more cruel than installing a black-cat fire cracker into a tent caterpillar nest (they turn into green jelly) or putting salt on slugs. I didn’t hurt vertebrates as a child. Maybe shot a bird or two.

  3. The “drill tethers” could have thrusters on them instead of being “shot” from the main vehicle. The lines holding the tethers could also function as a fuel line for the thrusters. If the soil samples contain oxygen (it’s about 43% O2 on lunar soil) you can make fuel “on the go” as long as there is a power source (e.g., solar).

  4. Mat… Moon has good amount of gravity. Tidally locked to earth. Not compareable. Asteroids spinning as compared to particles moving. Depends on the type of asteroid i guess.

  5. I know you’re translating from another language to English… but my respectful question is, what is “Mat…” at the front mean? Its not an English word.


    The “dust storm” concept doesn’t really work for the vacuum of space: there is nothing to keep the dust suspended (i.e no atmosphere). Just as any competent physics high-school lab (used to, in the 1950s) shows, when you drop a feather and a lead fishing weight in air, the feather takes much longer to drop. But do that in a vacuum (in a glass bell jar hooked to a good vacuum pump), and they both fall at exactly the same acceleration. Same time. 

    The lunar astronauts, when looking at the “fantails” kicked up by their rover were struck by the same vacuum physics: it makes no difference to the particles in the kicked up dust how small they are. They rise up based on velocity, rise in an arc, then drop back down again. Together. no “residual dust” like here in Planet Dirt. 

    Same would go for the asteroid. Its an awfully good vacuum up there. 

    Now … that dusts being kicked up — say to 25 or 50 meters — by the smallest of forces is real. And that they’d be “up there” seemingly defying gravity (but not!!!) for many minutes, also is true. But they’d fall back, just as surely. 

    Just saying,

  6. Mat… Not considering to small of asteroids. Even bennu has large rocks that have rested on its exterior. Small asteroids if are disturbed have the potentual to kick up dust storm that could persist for awhile. Some have hypothesized some could even have dust ring like other cosmic objects. If it happens could be awkward to explore.

  7. I don’t think you quite appreciate just how feeble the gravity is on a 250 meter diameter chunk-o-dust. See my comment elsewhere regarding jumping about, and the energies and speeds involved.

  8. Like it.  

    Thing is, tho’ there’d not be the slipperiness, in a sense its a similar environment. Just vexed by the profoundly low surface gravity of say a 250 meter diameter chunk-o-dust. Not much there. 

    1,200 kg/m³ (is what some estimates are), and 10 micro-G attraction at surface.  

    Since [ D = v²/2a ] in physics, if you want to hop only 1 meter “up-ish”, you get 

    D = v²/2a
    v = √( 2Da )
    D = 1 meter
    a = 2×10⁻⁶ m/s²
    v = 0.002 m/s … 2 millimeters/second. 

    If our lander has a mass (on earth) some 5 kg (say), then to attain that velocity requires (in a leg-springiness range-of-motion of 10 cm), hmmm… hmmm… calculate … figure … wait, what? … oh, wrong … OK…. seems right… 

    100 micronewtons (above the 10 micronewtons gravitational pull)
    100 seconds acceleration
    0.2 µW max acceleration power
    10 joules kinetic energy (in the jump)

    These would be very slow jumps. VERY slow. 4 minute affairs. Like watching bamboo grow.

    Just saying,

  9. Mat… Small to large. Probe lands on boulder all spindally like then wraps around super slowly then uses the weight as ballast. Light to heavy. “Operation hermit crab”. Could then use to explore drill or whatever. Leaves solar panels on top. Could also have gear and bags to collect water.

  10. I don’t think you get the same low friction effect on the surface of rubble piles as you get on the surface of fluids…

    That said, definitely onboard with walking on spindly legs for this purpose. Legged robots with the joints encapsulated in elastomer would neatly solve some of the problems we’re seeing with Mars rovers in terms of abrasive wear.

  11. From an emulating-life-on-Earth point of view, I think the landers need to be designed like the commonplace “water bugs” of nearly all wetlands. They’re remarkable: built extraordinarily twiggy, with long, weak, spindly legs (relative to the size of their bodies), having no ability to “grip” the water they’re riding on. Yet — as a kid I found out — they’re essentially impossible to catch. Crazy fast.  Great at going where they want, now.

    And studying them for many a lazy summer afternoon, I found that they never ‘crashed’ into anything, and dealt with all kinds of floating debris handily.  The “secret sauce”?  

    Evolution “solved” the motion-on-a-totally-slippery-surface problem with the very same spindly legs.  They’re really quite flexible. (I eventually got the hang of catching them, then carefully tormenting them with my “experiments” … to release them again unharmed.)

    The springiness of the legs acts as a mechanical-leverage and shock-absorber system of remarkable durability and huge (relative to bug size) range-of-motion capacity. Tiny muscle movements become large leg-tip motion, albeit at very low force.  

    Seems like the right idea for future landers.  
    Scuttle around like water bugs.  
    Extremely small forces, amplified mechanically to large — but weak — motion. 

    Just saying,

  12. How about a speargun type tether system that “shoots” (with thrusters) cable-attached drills into the surface and anchor the craft. Then, to move, reverse-drill, pull up the tether, move in the direction you want (with thrusters), and shoot the tethers down again. Kinda how a tethered offshore drilling platform operates where you have a positively buoyant/gravity object that needs to be anchored.

  13. That was my thought: A walking rover with gripper feet. The problem with the milli-Newton propulsion idea is that, while it’s fine for going around taking pictures, and maybe even for sampling loose debris, you can’t apply any real pressure to the surface, which precludes drilling or digging.

  14. Small isn’t the only way to go with it You could have a large (several metres wide) walking robot with drills in its feet. Four legs, one or two moving at a time. Drill, release, move, repeat. Initial attachment could be acheived with small thrusters that counteract the force of the drills going in for the first time. No need for propellant for the rest of the mission then, unless you’re returning samples.


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