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International Linear Collider and High Gradient Superconducting RF-Cavities

Periodic Report Summary 1 - ILC-HIGRADE (International Linear Collider and High Gradient Superconducting RF-Cavities)

A linear e+e- collider continues to be the next major project in High Energy Physics following the commissioning of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It has been prominently positioned in the European Strategy for Particle Physics agreed by CERN Council, which serves as the basis for ESFRI recommendations for High Energy Physics (HEP). As the first data of the LHC are being recorded and physics results extracted one can hope to get more guidance from the LHC physics results on the detailed design decisions for such a linear collider, in particular the energy reach of such a facility. The European Strategy will hence be updated over the next couple of years.

In the energy range from 500 to 1000 GeV a design for such a machine exists: the e+e- International Linear Collider (ILC). It is well understood today that the ILC will constitute the precision tool for the Terascale, the scale of electroweak symmetry breaking. The ILC complements the potential of the LHC, which will initially chart this unknown territory. - If a much farther leap into the Terascale is suggested by the physics results one will have to revisit the optimisation of the layout and time scales.

The ILC-HIGRADE consortium concentrates on the rapid realisation of the International Linear Collider ILC and brings together the key players in Europe. They constitute a large fraction of the European element of the Global Design Effort (GDE) that has led to the publication of the Reference Design Report (RDR) in 2007. The report forms the basis for the Technical Design Phases I and II of the ILC, which the GDE will complete by mid-2012. The proposal for the ILC will then be presented to the global stakeholders, i.e. governments and funding agencies to seek approval. The technically driven schedule envisages start of construction as early as 2012. Project approval and start of construction is a two-stage process.

Starting in 2008, the ILC-HIGRADE Consortium began to address important elements in this two-stage process with siting of the facility as one major ingredient. Currently site proposals for all three regions Japan, US and in Europe exist. Their benefits are being evaluated and the international framework in which the project will be realised will be developed. ILC-HIGRADE encompasses the European side in this global endeavour. The participating laboratories and universities contribute their long-standing experience in conceiving large-scale experiments and the organisation of large collaborations to a process that establishes the global framework for an organisation that will support start of construction matching the technical timelines.

The linear accelerator sections of the ILC constitute a major cost-driver. Their design and their cost depend on the achievable accelerating gradient for the ILC. The global gradient development programme of the GDE will establish a realistic operational gradient for the ILC by employing proven preparation techniques, with European laboratories leading the effort. In the course of ILC-HIGRADE, the partners are preparing at least 24 fully dressed cavities, which will initially serve as a technical reference for the decision on the choice of gradient and eventually as the industrialisation of the high-gradient process. While their delivery is pending till 2011 important steps have been made to prepare the facilities and the instrumentation for analysis and full diagnostics.

The timelines of this 4-year project are well aligned with those of the Global Design Effort, aimed at establishing the technical basis for proposing the ILC by mid-2012. It thus matches the timelines of the iteration on the European Strategy for the High Energy Physics. If chosen, the ILC construction could commence soon after. From a European perspective, all crucial elements necessary to produce this outcome, both technical and political are reinforced and explicitly supported in the ILC-HIGRADE project.