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


Features

More Features »

Subject Areas

Particles and Fields

Previous Synopsis

Next Synopsis

Materials Science

Phasons Passing By

Read More »

Related Articles

Synopsis: Antiprotons May Hold Dark Matter Signal
Cosmology

Synopsis: Antiprotons May Hold Dark Matter Signal

Recently released data on cosmic-ray antiprotons may contain hints of dark matter, as revealed by two new analyses. Read More »

Viewpoint: Probing Quarkonium Production in Jets
Particles and Fields

Viewpoint: Probing Quarkonium Production in Jets

A study of J∕𝜓 production in jets reveals the weaknesses of a widely used method of simulating high-energy particle collisions. Read More »

Synopsis: Five Charming New Baryons
Particles and Fields

Synopsis: Five Charming New Baryons

The discovery of five new baryonic states at the Large Hadron Collider could shed light on the strong nuclear force. Read More »

More Articles