Fermilab Statement on a Proton Driver
Fermilab's Long Range Plan envisions the laboratory as the leader of U.S.
accelerator-based particle physics in 2015 and beyond. To address the most
compelling scientific questions of 21st-century physics, Fermilab proposes to
host an internationally designed, constructed and operated International Linear
Collider. Neutrino physics offers a second potential area for world leadership by
Fermilab. A proposed proton driver, working with the existing Main Injector,
would produce the most intense neutrino beams in the world. The ILC and a proton
driver would both use superconducting accelerating cavities, creating a synergy
in their R&D programs. For the near future, Fermilab is pursuing R&D for both
the ILC and a proton driver, in parallel.
The Fermilab Long Range Plan,
defines Fermilab's strategy for the future. The vision for 2015 and beyond is
that Fermilab will remain the primary site for accelerator-based particle
physics in the U.S. The Long Range Plan presents two possibilities, each
addressing an area of extraordinary scientific opportunity:
- Fermilab as host to an internationally designed, constructed and operated
linear collider. The International Linear Collider will be the next particle
physics accelerator project after the Large Hadron Collider. It will address
the most compelling questions in particle physics. During the period of ILC
preconstruction and construction, the present Fermilab accelerator complex
would continue to provide an excellent physics program. Fermilab would remain
a world center for particle physics with accelerators for many decades.
- Fermilab as home to the world's leading neutrino program. As a result of
several recent discoveries, physicists see the opportunity to use neutrinos for
exploring physics at a very high energy scale. Fermilab is taking the lead in
accelerator-based neutrino physics with the MINOS and MiniBooNE experiments. The
capability of the Fermilab program can be extended by the construction of new,
larger neutrino detectors and a multi-megawatt proton driver. A long-baseline
neutrino beam with very high intensity is an essential part of the world program
in neutrino physics; a proton driver at Fermilab would be the least expensive way
to achieve that capability.
The ideal outcome for U.S. particle physics is rapid progress toward construction
of the ILC at Fermilab, along with continuing evolution of the neutrino program.
The timeline for the ILC project will depend on political and financial issues more
than on technical limitations.
Fermilab is planning ambitious upgrades to the laboratory's neutrino program
in order to take maximum advantage of the existing accelerator complex. The
evolution of the neutrino program at Fermilab and worldwide will adapt to
developments over time, including the progress of the ILC.
Role of a Proton Driver
The rapidly growing field of neutrino physics already shows evidence of new physics
beyond our current understanding of the universe. To solve the many mysteries of
neutrinos will require a range of experiments, some with accelerators and some
without. The unique role of the Fermilab program would build on the long-baseline
neutrino facility NuMI, now nearly complete, giving Fermilab an unsurpassed base
for the development of a world-leading neutrino program.
The Fermilab neutrino program will advance in steps to increase the proton
intensity and the size of the neutrino detectors. Each step will yield a major
increase in sensitivity to the most promising neutrino physics. Building a proton
driver would achieve the next major step in the accelerator complex by providing
2 MW of proton power at 120 GeV, about eight times the initial power of the NuMI
beam line. In light of the recommendations of the Long Range Plan and of the
International Technology Recommendation Panel for the ILC, Fermilab has chosen to
focus on the development of superconducting acceleration technology for a proton
Synergy of R&D for ILC and Proton Driver
The overlap in R&D for a proton driver and the International Linear Collider
benefits both projects. Each proposes to use high gradient superconducting cavities
operating in pulsed mode to accelerate particles traveling near light speed. In
particular, the proposed Superconducting Module Test Facility at Fermilab would
serve both programs. The SMTF could also be used by other accelerator projects that
require a test facility for superconducting accelerating structures.
For the near future, Fermilab will pursue R&D toward the ILC and a proton driver
in parallel. Fermilab is studying the physics opportunities created by a proton
driver; and the detectors that the associated experiments would require. The
immediate goal of proton driver activities is to produce documentation to support
a determination of mission need Critical Decision 0 in the DOE project management
system) and to move forward with proton driver R&D toward Critical Decision 1.
Fermilab scientists are preparing a proposal for the SMTF that would support the
needs of both ILC and proton driver R&D.