A U.S.-based electron-ion collider (EIC) has recently been endorsed by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. This brings the realization of such a collider another step closer, after its earlier recommendation in the 2015 Long-Range Plan for U.S. Nuclear Science of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee “as the highest priority for new facility construction following the completion of FRIB.” There are many exciting connections between the scientific questions being addressed at Fermilab and, in the future, at the EIC as well as the shared interests in detectors and accelerators.
On Oct. 7 and 8, Fermilab will host the EIC Hadron Cooling Workshop to bring together experts in the area of hadron beam cooling — one of the main challenges facing the machine. Registration is open until Sept. 30. This workshop is sponsored by Fermilab, University of Chicago and Cornell University’s Center for Bright Beams.
An EIC will be an unprecedented collider that will need to maintain high luminosity over a very wide range of center-of-mass energies (20 GeV to about 100 GeV, upgradable to roughly 140 GeV), while accommodating highly polarized beams and many different ion species. Addressing the challenges of this machine requires R&D in areas such as beam cooling, crab cavities and high-field magnets for the interaction points — areas in which Fermilab already has significant advancements.
A multilaboratory collaboration is currently working on two site-specific EIC designs — eRHIC led by Brookhaven National Laboratory and JLEIC led by Jefferson Lab. While the designs are different, there are many common R&D issues on which eRHIC and JLEIC efforts are cooperating closely. At the workshop, we’ll discuss the most significant R&D challenges associated with beam cooling of ions and protons in the EIC.
Fermilab is a natural setting for such a workshop: the Fermilab electron cooler (2005-11) still holds the world record for the highest-energy hadron beam cooler.
The Long-Range Plan tells us that, to answer the most pressing questions about the sea of quarks, antiquarks and gluons that make up the atomic nucleus — and so most of the universe’s visible matter — a future EIC must make “a qualitative leap in technical capabilities beyond previous … programs.” The community must meet the EIC’s design and engineering challenges to ensure a path forward for this forefront collider. The workshop is an incremental but significant step in that direction.
Sergei Nagaitsev is the head of the Fermilab Office of Accelerator Science.