According to Nature, Japan is the frontrunner for the planned International Linear Collider (ILC), for which Europe and the United States are also in the running to host. Scientists and engineers are already examining potential sites in the island nation for the US$7 to $8 billion machine, which is intended to complement the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. The head of the global design effort for the ILC, physicist Barry Barish, presented finalized blueprints at a ceremony in Tokyo earlier this month.
Unlike the LHC located near Geneva in Switzerland, which has a ring-like shape, the ILC would be straight and 31 km (19.2 miles) long. It would house 16,000 superconducting cavities that can accelerate particles to 500 gigaelectronvolts, with the possibility of doubling that with a later upgrade. More importantly, unlike the LHC’s protons (which produce unwanted debris), the ILC would collide electrons and positrons, giving scientists a clearer look at the Higgs when they collide.