Japan increases contribution to LHC
May 21, 1998
The Japanese government has promised another Y5bn towards the construction of the world's biggest accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Europe. The contribution, if approved by the Japanese parliament, will bring Japan's total contribution to the LHC to Y13.85bn (about SwFr160m). The collider is expected to cost some SwFr2.6bn and is due to come on-line in 2005. The two main detectors for the collider are expected to cost a further SwFr475m each. Last December the US agreed to contribute $531m (SwFr776m) to the project. India, Canada and Russia have also promised contributions.
The LHC will be a 14 TeV proton-proton collider. High-energy physicists will use to LHC to search for the Higgs particle (or particles), which are thought to explain the origins of mass. It will also be used to search for "supersymmetric" particles and to explore why the universe is made entirely of matter, even though it is thought that the Big Bang created equal amounts of matter and anti-matter. Heavy-ion experiments in nuclear physics are also planned.
Part of the Japanese funds will go towards developing the superconducting quadrupole magnets needed for the collider. Each magnet is about 15 metres long and keeps protons focused in the beam as other magnets accelerate them to close to the speed of light. The magnets are being developed in close collaboration with KEK laboratory in Tsukuba. Japanese physicists are also helping to build ATLAS, one of the two general purpose detectors being constructed for the LHC.