Synopsis: Deconstructing the Quark Gluon Plasma

Clues about the briefly liberated quarks and gluons in high-energy collisions lie in the relic hadrons they leave behind.

Understanding steam would be really difficult if one only had access to cubes of ice, yet this is exactly the challenge confronting researchers studying the quark-gluon plasma (QGP), a liquidlike state of matter obtained from colliding atomic nuclei at relativistic energies. The constituents of the plasma are quarks and gluons that are momentarily liberated from the colliding nucleons, but the strong nuclear force freezes these particles so rapidly into protons, neutrons, and other stable hadrons that it is difficult to measure them directly. To understand the microscopic constituents of the plasma (quarks and gluons), experimentalists need to know how to interpret what they can actually measure (the relic hadrons).

In a paper appearing in Physical Review Letters, Scott Pratt at Michigan State University, East Lansing, proposes a precise relationship between the charge correlations of the quarks and gluons and statistical correlations between the spatial distributions of the measured hadrons. The author used various known results from numerical simulations based on lattice quantum-chromodynamics to bolster his proposal, which can, in principle, be tested against data from experiments at the Large Hadron Collider and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. In particular, Pratt has carefully accounted for the effect of charge correlations on the hadronic distribution, which required separating the contributions of numerous other effects. – Abhishek Agarwal


Announcements

More Announcements »

Subject Areas

Particles and Fields

Previous Synopsis

Next Synopsis

Materials Science

Phasons Passing By

Read More »

Related Articles

Synopsis: Spatial Tests of Dark Matter
Astrophysics

Synopsis: Spatial Tests of Dark Matter

Maps of merging galaxy clusters could help find signatures of dark matter based on its decay into photons. Read More »

Viewpoint: A More Precise Higgs Boson Mass
Particles and Fields

Viewpoint: A More Precise Higgs Boson Mass

A new value for the Higgs boson mass will allow stronger tests of the standard model and of theories about the Universe’s stability. Read More »

Synopsis: IceCube Neutrinos Pass Flavor Test
Particles and Fields

Synopsis: IceCube Neutrinos Pass Flavor Test

The highest energy neutrinos ever recorded have a flavor distribution of neutrinos that is consistent with the particles having a cosmic origin. Read More »

More Articles