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The Electron-Ion Collider will be a powerful new billion dollar scale facility in the United States, hosted at the Brookhaven National Lab, constructed with the aim of studying Gluons, particles which bind all the observable matter in the world around us. The EIC machine will consist of two intersecting accelerators, one producing an intense beam of electrons, the other a high-energy beam of protons or heavier atomic nuclei, which are steered into head-on collisions.
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), together with Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (TJNAF), are developing the EIC project plans, including coordination of domestic and international partners to deliver the EIC construction project.
The Cockcroft Institute, working with the EIC project team, hosted a virtual meeting on October 7-9, 2020 which focused on potential partnership in the EIC Project. The meeting ran over three days and included sessions spread over multiple time zones, making it easier for participants from the entire world to participate.
The workshop included an overview of the project status, overview of the accelerator and its subsystems, as wells as presentations from the labs and institutes interested in collaboration on the EIC accelerator, together with discussion of the relevant accelerator science and technology topics, representing a necessary step on the path to form the multi-lab collaboration that will deliver the EIC project.
There were a total of 361 invited participants from 24 countries spanning all six continents. The 76 scheduled talks (4 of which were by CI staff) filled 33 hours of Zoom meetings spread across 16 sessions and squeezed into just 50 hours from the start to the end of the meeting. Anybody who attended all the talks would have had a maximum of about ten hours sleeps during the three days!
There was abundant evidence of very strong interest in collaboration from many North American and overseas laboratories and a long list of topics (with interested parties identified) was drawn up at the end of the meeting. The UK has committed a modest amount of resources to detector development activities for the EIC experiments but has yet to commit any resources to accelerator R&D for the machine. There are a number of areas where the CI could contribute strongly including SRF, crab cavities, hadron beam cooling with an Energy Recovery Linac, high brightness electron guns, non-invasive proton beam diagnostics and electron cloud mitigation technologies. The expected completion date of EIC construction is 2030, so a UK contribution to the machine on that timescale fits conveniently with our other major commitments to the HL-LHC at CERN and PIP-II at Fermilab, both of which should be delivered by 2026. There is a burgeoning EIC user community in the UK that will benefit from any UK investment in the facilty and, due to the very challenging performance specifications for the machine, it will enable the CI to advance accelerator science in the UK on a number of fronts.
The Director of the Cockcroft Institute, Professor Peter Ratoff, co-chaired the workshop and said “It was an honour and privilege for the CI to be able to host the first EIC collaboration workshop aimed at stimulating global interest in collaborating on the machine construction. I hope that we will find a way to make an important contribution to the realisation of this exciting and important accelerator project.”