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Posts Tagged ‘ILC’

The ILC site has been chosen. What does this mean for Japan?

Credit: linearcollider.org

The two ILC candidate sites: Sefuri in the South and Kitakami in the North. Credit: linearcollider.org

Hi Folks,

It is official [Japanese1,Japanese2]: the Linear Collider Collaboration and the Japanese physics community have selected the Kitakami mountain range in northern Japan as the site for the proposed International Linear Collider. Kitakami is a located in the Iwate Prefecture and is just north of the Miyagi prefecture, the epicenter of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. Having visited the site in June, I cannot aptly express how gorgeous the area is, but more importantly, how well-prepared Iwate City is for this responsibility.

Science is cumulative: new discoveries are used to make more discoveries about how nature works, and physics is no different. The discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider was a momentous event. With its discovery, physicists proved how some particles have mass and why others have no mass at all. The Higgs boson plays a special role in this process, and after finally finding it, we are determined to learn more about the Higgs. The International Linear Collider (ILC) is a proposed Higgs boson factory that would allow us to intimately understand the Higgs. Spanning 19 miles (31 km) [310 football pitches/soccer fields], if constructed, the ILC will smash together electrons and their antimatter partners, positrons, to produce a Higgs boson (along with a Z boson). In such a clean environment (compared to proton colliders), ultra-precise measurements of the Higgs boson’s properties can be made, and thereby elucidate the nature of this shiny new particle.

credit: li

The general overview schematic of the International Linear Collider. Credit: linearcollider.org

However, the ILC is more than just a experiment. Designing, constructing, and operating the machine for 20 years will be a huge undertaking with lasting effects. For staters, the collider’s Technical Design Report (TDR), which contains every imaginable detail minus the actual blueprints, estimates the cost of the new accelerator to be 7.8 billion USD (2012 dollars). This is not a bad thing. Supposing 50% of the support came from Asia, 25% from the Americas, and 25% from Europe, that would be nearly 2 billion USD invested in new radio frequency technology in England, Germany, and Italy. In the US, it would be nearly 2 billion USD invested in coastal and Midwestern laboratories developing new cryogenic and superconducting technology. In Asia, this would be nearly 4 billion USD invested in these technologies as well as pure labor and construction. Just as the LHC was a boon on the European economy, a Japanese-based ILC will be a boon for an economy temporarily devastated  by an historic earthquake and tsunami. These are just hypothetical numbers; the real economic impact will be  larger.

I had the opportunity to visit Kitakami this past June as a part of a Higgs workshop hosted by Tohoku University. Many things are worth noting. The first is just how gorgeous the site is. Despite its lush appearance, the site offers several geological advantages, including stability against earthquakes of any size. Despite its proximity to the 2011 earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, this area was naturally protected by the mountains. Below is a photo of the Kitakami mountains that I took while visiting the site. Interestingly, I took the photo from the UNESCO World Heritage site Hiraizumi. The ILC is designed to sit between the two mountains in the picture.

ilcSite_Kitakami

The Kitamaki Mountain Range as seen from the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hiraizumi, Japan. Credit: Mine

What I want to point out in the picture below is the futuristic-looking set of tracks running across the photo. That is the rail line for the JR East bullet train, aka the Tohoku Shinkansen. In other words, the ILC site neighbours a very major transportation line connecting the Japanese capital Tokyo to the northern coast. It takes the train just over 2 hours to traverse the 250 miles (406.3 km) from Tokyo station to the Ichinoseki station in Iwate. The nearest major city is Sendai, capital of Miyagi, home to the renown Tohoku University, and is only a 10 minute shinkansen ride from Ichinoseki station.

...

The Kitamaki Mountain Range as seen from the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hiraizumi, Japan. Credit: Mine

What surprised me is how excited the local community is about the collider. After exiting the Ichinoseki station I discovered this subtle sign of support:

There is much community support for the ILC: The Ichinoseki Shinkansen Station in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Credit: Mine

The residents of Iwate and Miyagi, independent of any official lobbying organization, have formed their own “ILC Support Committee.” They even have their own facebook page. Over the past year, the residents have invited local university physicists to give public lectures on what the ILC is; they have requested that more English, Chinese, Korean, and Tagalog language classes be offered at local community centers; that more Japanese language classes for foreigners are offered in these same facilities; and have even discussed with city officials how to prepare Iwate for the prospect of a rapid increase in population over the next 20 years.

Despite all this, the real surprises were the pamphlets. Iwate has seriously thought this through.

asdsad

Pamphlets showcasing the Kitakami Mountain Range in Iwate, Japan. Credit: Mine

The level of detail in the pamphlets is impressive. My favourite pamphlet has the phrase, “Ray of Hope: Tohoku Is Ready to Welcome the ILC” on the front cover. Inside is a list of ways to reach the ILC site and the time it takes. For example: it takes 12 hours 50 minutes to reach Tokyo from Rome and 9 hours 40 minutes from Sydney. The brochure elaborates that the Kitakami mountains maintain roughly the same temperature as Switzerland (except in August-September) but collects much more precipitation through the year. Considering that CERN is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and that many LHC experimentalists will likely become ILC experimentalists, the comparison is very helpful. The at-a-glance annual festival schedule is just icing on the cake.

asdd

“Ray of Hope” pamphlet describing how to each different ILC campuses by train.  Credit: Mine

Now that the ILC site has been selected, surveys of the land can be conducted so that blue prints and a finalized cost estimate can be established. From my discussions with people involved in the site selection process, the decision was very difficult. I have not visited the Fukuoka site, though I am told it is a comparably impressive location. It will be a while still before any decision to break ground is made. And until that happens, there is plenty of work to do.

Happy Colliding

- Richard (@bravelittlemuon)

 

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This article appeared in ILC Newsline July 28.

Editor’s note: Fermilab has been working with national and international institutions to develop superconducting radio-frequency cavities and their encapsulating cryomodules for next-generation accelerators, including the proposed International Linear Collider and the proposed Project X.

CM1 with its recently installed RF distribution system ready for testing. Image: Jerry Leibfritz

SRF technology enables the acceleration of intense beams of particles to high energies more efficiently and at lower costs than other technologies. SRF technology could also be applied in the areas of clean nuclear energy and transmutation of radioactive waste.

Cryomodule 1 is now firing on all eight cavities.

Cryomodule 1, Fermilab’s test cryomodule for ILC-type accelerating cavities and superconducting radiofrequency (SRF) technology, was powered up as a complete, multi-cavity instrument earlier this month. Previously, researchers had delivered power only to the individual cavities inside it.

“We’ve operated superconducting cavities before, but this is the next step in scale,” said Sergei Nagaitsev of Fermilab’s Accelerator Division. “Operating a single cavity in its own cryostat is comparable, but with a full cryomodule, the complexity goes up by an order of magnitude.”

Since the cool-down of CM1 last November, scientists and engineers have been busy installing the plumbing for power distribution, called waveguides; upgrading the water skid, which helps with the cooling of the high-power RF equipment; and taking data on each cavity’s accelerating gradient and quality factor, or Q. Researchers completed the cavity tests in June.

“The big question now is how this module performs compared to when the cavities were at DESY,” said Fermilab’s Elvin Harms. The German physics lab DESY provided all eight CM1 cavities, which were tested before they came across the Atlantic. Over the coming weeks, researchers will continue to feed power into cryomodule to gather data on how cavities perform as a single unit rather than as individual elements. The hope is that their gradients and Q will be in reasonable agreement with DESY’s numbers.

To make sure the data that comes through is reliable, the CM1 team will work on calibrations, test RF power operation, and work the kinks out of the system. Then comes a multi-week programme where scientists will perform stability tests and beam studies for the ILC beam current programme, which includes tests that can be conducted without the presence of beam. Researchers will also use CM1 for tests for Project X, Fermilab’s proposed proton accelerator programme.

Not all sailing was smooth in the time since the November cool-down. Some cavities still have wrinkles that need to be ironed out.

“Nevertheless, the fact that the integration of it all into a single system worked is a tremendous boost for the Accelerator Division, the Technical Division and our collaborators,” Nagaitsev said.

Collaborators on CM1 include researchers from DESY, INFN in Italy and KEK in Japan.

“Many people have invested a lot of time in CM1,” Harms said. “They’ve been eagerly waiting to get this to this day.”

– Leah Hesla

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