The much-anticipated 2023 Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) Report, which outlines particle physicists’ recommendations for the next decade, was accepted on December 8 by the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP), which advises the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of High Energy Physics (HEP) and the National Science Foundation’s Mathematical & Physical Sciences Directorate (MPS). The report outlines the vision for the next decade of federal investments in particle physics. Among other investments, it includes support for expanded accelerator research and development.

To conduct precision studies of the most recently discovered fundamental particle, the Higgs boson, the panel’s third-ranked priority is to create a vision for significant U.S. participation in an off-shore Higgs factory, to which Berkeley Lab researchers would plan to contribute on several fronts, including the accelerator and the detector, just as they are currently contributing to the ATLAS detector and high-luminosity LHC accelerator upgrades.

To reinforce the country’s leading role in international high-energy physics for decades to come, P5 also recommended that the U.S. research community study future advanced facilities, including a high-energy and cost-effective 10 TeV parton-center-of-mass collider, motivated by the prospect of discovering new physics and requiring transformative accelerator technology based on proton, muon, or possible wakefield technologies. Included in this recommendation is an evaluation of a possible U.S. location for this new machine, with an aim to be ready to build major test and demonstrator facilities advancing key technology within the next 10 years.

The report included strong support for more aggressive accelerator research and development, including increases in general accelerator R&D, support for accelerator test facilities, and targeted collider studies as well as updates to the Fermilab accelerator complex. Berkeley Lab’s broad-ranging accelerator science program supports each of these directions for the future of the field. For example, the Lab leads the U.S. Magnet Development Program, which develops new approaches to superconducting magnet technology, a key component for any future energy frontier collider. Accelerator simulations, such as those developed by the ATAP Division’s Accelerator Modeling Program (AMP), are another important capability that will be critical in the design of future accelerators as are controls and RF systems developed by the Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation (BACI) Program.

Berkeley Lab is a leading center for research on laser plasma wakefield acceleration, a potentially transformative accelerator technology that can reach acceleration gradients much higher than conventional techniques. Going forward, there are plans to maximize the use of test facilities like the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center which are identified in the report as “ever more important to develop the advanced technology for future machines.” Development of new test facilities including Berkeley Lab’s kBELLA Initiative for projects this decade is planned, which was also identified as a path to improve performance and lower the cost of future accelerators.

“The inspirational opportunities for particle physics described in the report place radical new demands on accelerator capabilities,” said Geddes, who also stated, “We look forward to developing the capabilities emphasized in the report based on our broad leadership in accelerators, from a near-term Higgs factory to Fermilab complex improvements, to revolutionary technology for proton, wakefield, and muon paths to new frontiers in collider energy.”