Thursday, October 18, 2007

ICALEPCS—Particle Accelerators & Colliders

The world of big physics is an ideal place for emerging technologies to thrive and mature given the size of the budgets and the skill of the practitioners. They push the state of the art, like no other set of users, I’ve seen. I attended the ICALEPCS show this week in Knoxville, Tennessee. ICALEPCS stands for International Conference on Accelerator and Large Experimental Physics Control Systems.

In the conference, the keynote speakers kicked off with an overview of particle accelerators. The LHC—Large Hadron Collider built at CERN seeks to discover the Higgs particle – the smallest particle suspected to exist.

The International Linear Collider or ILC works in collaboration with the LHC. It’s an accelerator that will help fill out the missing pieces from the LHC experiments and research. It’s known that we need the ILC, but not yet exactly how. The ILC consists of two linear accelerators that face each other. The resulting collision of particles generates over 500 billion-electron-volts (GeV). The ILC grew out of the SLC (Stanford Linear Collider) which pioneered the technique of two accelerators facing each other. This made the design simple yet powerful enough to create the collision forces required to generate the desired energy level. These colliders are by nature multinational in development and support due to the substantial financial requirements to design, deploy and maintain.

There are a number of “boutique” accelerator/colliders such as the Muon collider which seeks to generate high luminosity particles which are easier to generate and study compared to linear colliders. Also there are accelerators seeking to reduce the cost and distance required to generate high energy fields. One example here is the Laser Plasma Accelerator. Laser Plasma Accelerators fire a laser into a plasma beam to create high energy fields but with far less space and equipment.

Best regards,
Hall T.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Hall:

Pete Nico from Polymicro Technologies. My company designed and fabricated over 1 million meters of optical fiber used in the CMS of the LHC for particle detection. I wrote the LabVIEW code to monitor the critical dimensions of the fiber as it was being drawn. It is pretty cool to have been involved with the CERN project. I hope it works when they fire it up!

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