“Already celebrated for bringing the world news of the Higgs boson, the Large Hadron Collider is only beginning its long journey of discoveries. Yet scientists are already planning the next big machine, the International Linear Collider [read Linear Collider, from the linear Collider Collaboaration], to study the LHC’s discoveries in more detail.
So what’s the difference between the LHC and the proposed ILC? Why do we need both?
For one thing, the ILC would accelerate particles along a straight line some 30 kilometers long while the LHC accelerates them along a circular path 27 kilometers in circumference. But that just skims the surface of their differences.
The two types of machine provide very different types of information because they collide different kinds of particles. The LHC collides protons, which themselves are made up of quarks and gluons. The ILC, in contrast, would collide electrons and positrons, point-like particles that have no known internal structure. Proton collisions are messy, allowing scientists to discover new particles and new processes, while linear-collider experiments are cleaner, allow scientists to explore these new particles and new processes without the complicated debris present at the LHC.
Not clear? Maybe this image helps. The protons in the LHC aren’t just single particles; they are each made of a list of ingredients (up quarks, a down quark and gluons)…That’s why the LHC produces the mind-boggling number of collisions that it does.
See the full scintillating article here.