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  • richardmitnick 3:17 pm on January 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 'New' ALICE coming to life during LS2, , , , High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC), Novel Muon Forward Tracker (MFT), , , Quark-gluon plasma” (QGP)   

    From ALICE at CERN: “‘New’ ALICE coming to life during LS2” 

    CERN
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    From From ALICE at CERN

    21 January 2019
    Virginia Greco

    With the conclusion of Run 2, ALICE has entered a new phase, during which a major upgrade of its detector, data-taking and data-processing systems will be implemented.

    At 6 a.m. on December 3, 2018, the LHC expert team switched off the engine of the biggest particle accelerator in the world, which will rest for the next two years before entering a new phase of operation. Starting in March 2021, in fact, the LHC will deliver collisions at increased luminosity, allowing the experiments to collect much more data in less time and, thus, to study rare phenomena.

    The higher luminosity will certainly benefit ALICE, the LHC experiment dedicated to the study of the strong interaction and of the Quark-Gluon-Plasma (QGP), a state of matter which prevailed in the first instants of the universe and is recreated in droplets at the LHC by colliding lead ions. During Run 3, indeed, the interaction rate of lead ions will be increased to reach about 50 kHz, i.e. an instantaneous luminosity of L= 6×1027 cm-2s-1. This will allow ALICE to accumulate more than 10nb-1 of Pb-Pb collisions. Data samples of pp and p-Pb collisions will also be collected to measure the same observables in different interaction systems.

    To exploit the extraordinary scientific potential of Run 3 and subsequent High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) operations and to be able to study rare processes, the ALICE collaboration is currently implementing a major upgrade of its detector, data-taking and data-processing systems.

    The current Inner Tracking System (ITS), which is located at the heart of the detector, will be replaced by a brand-new one composed of seven layers of silicon pixel detectors. A compact pixel sensor chip (ALPIDE), based on the Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors (MAPS) technology, has been developed for this upgrade. The new ITS will improve dramatically the resolution of the detector and its ability to reconstruct the particle trajectories and identify secondary vertices.

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    Inner half-layers of the upgraded ITS. [Credit: Antoine Junique]

    A novel Muon Forward Tracker (MFT), implementing the same custom ALPIDE chip, will also be installed in the forward region of the detector. Thanks to its excellent spatial resolution, not only will ALICE be more sensitive to several measurements, but also it will be able to access new ones that are currently beyond reach. A new Fast Interaction Trigger (FIT) detector will also replace three current forward detectors, with the aim of providing the minimum-bias trigger and excellent time resolution for identifying decay vertices.

    The increased collision rate also requires a major upgrade of the ALICE TPC. The current detector is limited by its read-out chambers, which are based on multi-wire proportional chamber (MWPC) technology. Thus, they will be replaced with multi-stage gas electron multiplier (GEM) chambers, the development of which has required intense R&D activities. The TPC upgrade will increase the read-out rate of the detector by about two orders of magnitude, while preserving its excellent tracking and particle identification capabilities.

    The readout of the TPC and muon-chambers will be performed by the newly designed SAMPA chip, which is a 32-channel front-end analogue-to-digital converter with integrated digital signal processor.

    The new common online-offline (O2) system will transfer data from the detector directly to computers either continuously or with minimal trigger requirements. A new computing facility for the O2system is being installed at the experimental site.

    Whereas the machine will sleep, this long shut down period will be nothing but quiet for all the engineers and physicists who will work on a tight schedule to make the ALICE experiment ready for the next challenges.

    3
    Assembly of one of the gas electron multiplier chambers of the upgraded TPC detector in cleanroom. [Credit: CERN]

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 11:31 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Quark-gluon plasma” (QGP), Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), Theory Paper Offers Alternate Explanation for Particle Patterns   

    From Brookhaven National Lab: “Theory Paper Offers Alternate Explanation for Particle Patterns” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    December 19, 2018
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov

    Quantum mechanical interactions among gluons may trigger patterns that mimic formation of quark-gluon plasma in small-particle collisions at RHIC.

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    Raju Venugopalan and Mark Mace, two members of a collaboration that maintains quantum mechanical interactions among gluons are the dominant factor creating particle flow patterns observed in collisions of small projectiles with gold nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

    A group of physicists analyzing the patterns of particles emerging from collisions of small projectiles with large nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) say these patterns are triggered by quantum mechanical interactions among gluons, the glue-like particles that hold together the building blocks of the projectiles and nuclei. This explanation differs from that given by physicists running the PHENIX experiment at RHIC—a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. The PHENIX collaboration describes the patterns as a telltale sign that the small particles are creating tiny drops of quark-gluon plasma, a soup of visible matter’s fundamental building blocks.

    The scientific debate has set the stage for discussions that will take place among experimentalists and theorists in early 2019.

    “This back-and-forth process of comparison between measurements, predictions, and explanations is an essential step on the path to new discoveries—as the RHIC program has demonstrated throughout its successful 18 years of operation,” said Berndt Mueller, Brookhaven’s Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics, who has convened the special workshop for experimentalists and theorists, which will take place at Rice University in Houston, March 15-17, 2019.

    The data come from collisions between small projectiles (single protons, two-particle deuterons, and three-particle helium-3 nuclei) with large gold nuclei “targets” moving in the opposite direction at nearly the speed of light at RHIC. The PHENIX team tracked particles produced in these collisions and detected distinct correlations among particles emerging in elliptical and triangular patterns. Their measurements were in good agreement with particle patterns predicted by models describing the hydrodynamic behavior of a nearly perfect fluid quark-gluon plasma (QGP), which relate these patterns to the initial geometric shapes of the projectiles (for details, see this press release and the associated paper published in Nature Physics).

    But former Stony Brook University (SBU) Ph.D. student Mark Mace, his advisor Raju Venugopalan of Brookhaven Lab and an adjunct professor at SBU, and their collaborators question the PHENIX interpretation, attributing the observed particle patterns instead to quantum mechanical interactions among gluons. They present their interpretation of the results at RHIC and also results from collisions of protons with lead ions at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider in two papers published recently in Physical Review Letters and Physics Letters B, respectively, showing that their model also finds good agreement with the data.

    Gluons’ quantum interactions

    Gluons are the force carriers that bind quarks—the fundamental building blocks of visible matter—to form protons, neutrons, and therefore the nuclei of atoms. When these composite particles are accelerated to high energy, the gluons are postulated to proliferate and dominate their internal structure. These fast-moving “walls” of gluons—sometimes called a “color glass condensate,” named for the “color” charge carried by the gluons—play an important role in the early stages of interaction when a collision takes place.

    “The concept of the color glass condensate helped us understand how the many quarks and gluons that make up large nuclei such as gold become the quark-gluon plasma when these particles collide at RHIC,” Venugopalan said. Models that assume a dominant role of color glass condensate as the initial state of matter in these collisions, with hydrodynamics playing a larger role in the final state, extract the viscosity of the QGP as near the lower limit allowed for a theoretical ideal fluid. Indeed, this is the property that led to the characterization of RHIC’s QGP as a nearly “perfect” liquid.

    But as the number of particles involved in a collision decreases, Venugopalan said, the contribution from hydrodynamics should get smaller too.

    “In large collision systems, such as gold-gold, the interacting coherent gluons in the color glass initial state decay into particle-like gluons that have time to scatter strongly amongst each other to form the hydrodynamic QGP fluid—before the particles stream off to the detectors,” Venugopalan said.

    But at the level of just a few quarks and gluons interacting, as when smaller particles collide with gold nuclei, the system has less time to build up the hydrodynamic response.

    “In this case, the gluons produced after the decay of the color glass do not have time to rescatter before streaming off to the detectors,” he said. “So what the detectors pick up are the multiparticle quantum correlations of the initial state alone.”

    Among these well-known quantum correlations are the effects of the electric color charges and fields generated by the gluons in the nucleus, which can give a small particle strongly directed kicks when it collides with a larger nucleus, Venugopalan said. According to the analysis the team presents in the two published papers, the distribution of these deflections aligns well with the particle flow patterns measured by PHENIX. That lends support to the idea that these quirky quantum interactions among gluons are sufficient to produce the particle flow patterns observed in the small systems without the formation of QGP.

    Such shifts to quantum quirkiness at the small scale are not uncommon, Venugopalan said.

    “Classical systems like billiard balls obey well-defined trajectories when they collide with each other because there are a sufficient number of particles that make up the billiard balls, causing them to behave in aggregate,” he said. “But at the subatomic level, the quantum nature of particles is far less intuitive. Quantum particles have properties that are wavelike and can create patterns that are more like that of colliding waves. The wave-like nature of gluons creates interference patterns that cannot be mimicked by classical billiard ball physics.”

    “How many such subatomic gluons does it take for them to stop exhibiting quantum weirdness and start obeying the classical laws of hydrodynamics? It’s a fascinating question. And what can we can learn about the nature of other forms of strongly interacting matter from this transition between quantum and classical physics?”

    The answers might be relevant to understanding what happens in ultracold atomic gases—and may even hold lessons for quantum information science and fundamental issues governing the construction of quantum computers, Venugopalan said.

    “In all of these systems, classical physics breaks down,” he noted. “If we can figure out the particle number or collision energy or other control variables that determine where the quantum interactions become more important, that may point to the more nuanced kinds of predictions we should be looking at in future experiments.”

    The nuclear physics theory work and the operation of RHIC at Brookhaven Lab are supported by the DOE Office of Science.

    Collaborators on this work include: Mark Mace (now a post-doc at the University of Jyväskylä), Vladimir V. Skokov (RIKEN-BNL Research Center at Brookhaven Lab and North Carolina State University), and Prithwish Tribedy (Brookhaven Lab).

    See the full article here .


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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 2:25 pm on April 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Quark-gluon plasma” (QGP),   

    From Symmetry: “A tiny droplet of the early universe?” 

    Symmetry Mag

    Symmetry

    04/24/17
    Sarah Charley

    Particles seen by the ALICE experiment hint at the formation of quark-gluon plasma during proton-proton collisions. [ALREADY COVERED WITH AN ARTICLE FROM CERN HERE.]

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    Mona Schweizer, CERN

    About 13.8 billion years ago, the universe was a hot, thick soup of quarks and gluons—the fundamental components that eventually combined into protons, neutrons and other hadrons.

    Scientists can produce this primitive particle soup, called the quark-gluon plasma, in collisions between heavy ions. But for the first time physicists on an experiment at the Large Hadron Collider have observed particle evidence of its creation in collisions between protons as well.

    The LHC collides protons during the majority of its run time. This new result, published in Nature Physics by the ALICE collaboration, challenges long-held notions about the nature of those proton-proton collisions and about possible phenomena that were previously missed.

    “Many people think that protons are too light to produce this extremely hot and dense plasma,” says Livio Bianchi, a postdoc at the University of Houston who worked on this analysis. “But these new results are making us question this assumption.”

    Scientists at the LHC and at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, or RHIC, have previously created quark-gluon plasma in gold-gold and lead-lead collisions.

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    In the quark gluon plasma, mid-sized quarks—such as strange quarks—freely roam and eventually bond into bigger, composite particles (similar to the way quartz crystals grow within molten granite rocks as they slowly cool). These hadrons are ejected as the plasma fizzles out and serve as a telltale signature of their soupy origin. ALICE researchers noticed numerous proton-proton collisions emitting strange hadrons at an elevated rate.

    “In proton collisions that produced many particles, we saw more hadrons containing strange quarks than predicted,” says Rene Bellwied, a professor at the University of Houston. “And interestingly, we saw an even bigger gap between the predicted number and our experimental results when we examined particles containing two or three strange quarks.”

    From a theoretical perspective, a proliferation of strange hadrons is not enough to definitively confirm the existence of quark-gluon plasma. Rather, it could be the result of some other unknown processes occurring at the subatomic scale.

    “This measurement is of great interest to quark-gluon-plasma researchers who wonder how a possible QGP signature can arise in proton-proton collisions,” says Urs Wiedemann, a theorist at CERN. “But it is also of great interest for high energy physicists who have never encountered such a phenomenon in proton-proton collisions.”

    Earlier research at the LHC found that the spatial orientation of particles produced during some proton-proton collisions mirrored the patterns created during heavy-ion collisions, suggesting that maybe these two types of collisions have more in common than originally predicted. Scientists working on the ALICE experiment will need to explore multiple characteristics of these strange proton-proton collisions before they can confirm if they are really seeing a miniscule droplet of the early universe.

    “Quark-gluon plasma is a liquid, so we also need to look at the hydrodynamic features,” Bianchi says. “The composition of the escaping particles is not enough on its own.”

    This finding comes from data collected the first run of the LHC between 2009 and 2013. More research over the next few years will help scientists determine whether the LHC can really make quark-gluon plasma in proton-proton collisions.

    “We are very excited about this discovery,” says Federico Antinori, spokesperson of the ALICE collaboration. “We are again learning a lot about this extreme state of matter. Being able to isolate the quark-gluon-plasma-like phenomena in a smaller and simpler system, such as the collision between two protons, opens up an entirely new dimension for the study of the properties of the primordial state that our universe emerged from.”

    Other experiments, such as those using RHIC, will provide more information about the observable traits and experimental characteristics of quark-gluon plasmas at lower energies, enabling researchers to gain a more complete picture of the characteristics of this primordial particle soup.

    “The field makes far more progress by sharing techniques and comparing results than we would be able to with one facility alone,” says James Dunlop, a researcher at RHIC. “We look forward to seeing further discoveries from our colleagues in ALICE.”

    See the full article here .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 12:09 pm on April 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Quark-gluon plasma” (QGP),   

    From Rice: “Proton-nuclei smashups yield clues about ‘quark gluon plasma’ “ 

    Rice U bloc

    Rice University

    April 10, 2017
    Jade Boyd

    Rice University physicists probe exotic state of nuclear matter at Europe’s LHC

    1
    A visual of data collected by the Compact Muon Solenoid detector during a proton-lead collision at the Large Hadron Collider in 2016. (Image courtesy of Thomas McCauley/CERN)

    Findings from Rice University physicists working at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are providing new insight about an exotic state of matter called the “quark-gluon plasma” that occurs when protons and neutrons melt.

    As the most powerful particle accelerator on Earth, the LHC is able to smash together the nuclei of atoms at nearly the speed of the light. The energy released in these collisions is vast and allows physicists to recreate the hot, dense conditions that existed in the early universe. Quark-gluon plasma, or QGP, is a high-energy soup of particles that’s formed when protons and neutrons melt at temperatures approaching several trillion kelvins.

    In a recent paper in Physical Review Letters written on behalf of more than 2,000 scientists working on the LHC’s Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, Rice physicists Wei Li and Zhoudunming (Kong) Tu proposed a new approach for studying a characteristic magnetic property of QGP called the “chiral magnetic effect” (CME).

    CERN/CMS Detector

    Their approach uses collisions between protons and lead nuclei. CME is an electromagnetic phenomenon that arises as a consequence of quantum mechanics and is also related to so-called topological phases of matter, an area of condensed matter physics that has drawn increased worldwide attention since capturing the Nobel Prize in physics in 2016.

    “To find evidence for the chiral magnetic effect and thus topological phases in hot QGP matter has been a major goal in the field of high-energy nuclear physics for some time,” Li said. “Early findings, although indicative of the CME, still remain inconclusive, mainly because of other background processes that are difficult to control and quantify.”

    QGP was first produced around 2000 at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in New York and later at the LHC in 2010.

    BNL/RHIC

    CERN/LHC Map

    In those experiments, physicists smashed together two fast-moving lead nuclei, each of containing 82 protons and 126 neutrons, the two building blocks of all atomic nuclei. Because the melting protons in these collisions each carries a positive electric charge, the QGPs from these experiments contained enormously strong magnetic fields, which are estimated to be about a trillion times stronger than the strongest magnetic field ever created in a laboratory.

    The chiral magnetic effect is an exotic asymmetric electromagnetic effect that only arises due to the combination of quantum mechanics and the extreme physical conditions in a QGP. The laws of classical electrodynamics would forbid the existence of such a state, and indeed, Li’s inspiration for the new experiments arose from thinking about the problem in classical terms.

    “I was inspired by a problem in an undergraduate course I was teaching on classical electrodynamics,” Li said.

    Two years ago Li discovered that head-on collisions at LHC between a lead nucleus and a single proton created small amounts of particles that appeared to behave as a liquid. On closer analysis, he and colleagues at CMS found the collisions were creating small amounts of QGP.

    In a 2015 Rice News report about the discovery, Rice alumnus Don Lincoln, a particle physicist and physics communicator at Fermilab, wrote, “This result was surprising because when the proton hits the lead nucleus, it punches a hole through much of the nucleus, like shooting a rifle at a watermelon (as opposed to colliding two lead nuclei, which is like slamming two watermelons together).”

    Li said, “One unusual thing about the droplets of QGP created in proton-lead collisions is the configuration of their magnetic fields. The QGP is formed near the center of the initial lead nucleus, which makes it easy to tell that the strength of the magnetic field is rather negligible in comparison with the QGP created in lead-lead collisions. As a result, proton-lead collisions provide us a means to switch off the magnetic field — and the CME signal — in a QGP in a well-controlled way.”

    In the new paper, Li, Tu and their CMS colleagues showed evidence from proton-lead collision data that helps shed light on the electromagnetic behaviors that arise from the chiral magnetic effect in lead-lead QGPs.

    Li said more details still need to be worked out before a definitive conclusion can be drawn, but he said the results bode well for future QGP discoveries at the LHC.

    “This is just a first step in a new avenue opened up by proton-nucleus collisions for the search of exotic topological phases in QGP,” Li said. “We are working hard on accumulating more data and performing a series of new studies. Hopefully, in coming years, we will see the first direct evidence for the chiral magnetic effect.”

    The research is supported by the Department of Energy, the Robert Welch Foundation and Alfred Sloan Foundation.

    See the full article here .

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    In his 1912 inaugural address, Rice University president Edgar Odell Lovett set forth an ambitious vision for a great research university in Houston, Texas; one dedicated to excellence across the range of human endeavor. With this bold beginning in mind, and with Rice’s centennial approaching, it is time to ask again what we aspire to in a dynamic and shrinking world in which education and the production of knowledge will play an even greater role. What shall our vision be for Rice as we prepare for its second century, and how ought we to advance over the next decade?

    This was the fundamental question posed in the Call to Conversation, a document released to the Rice community in summer 2005. The Call to Conversation asked us to reexamine many aspects of our enterprise, from our fundamental mission and aspirations to the manner in which we define and achieve excellence. It identified the pressures of a constantly changing and increasingly competitive landscape; it asked us to assess honestly Rice’s comparative strengths and weaknesses; and it called on us to define strategic priorities for the future, an effort that will be a focus of the next phase of this process.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:30 pm on February 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Quark-gluon plasma” (QGP)   

    From CERN ALICE: “QGP: 17 years after the public announcement…” 

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    31 January 2017
    Virginia Greco

    Interview with Luciano Maiani, DG of CERN from 1999 to 2003, who gave the announcement talk of the discovery of QGP at the SPS.

    CERN  Super Proton Synchrotron
    CERN Super Proton Synchrotron

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    About 25 years after its first theoretical prediction, the new state of matter called quark-gluon plasma (QGP) was observed at CERN’s SPS. The public announcement was made on the 10th of February 2000 by Luciano Maiani, Director General of CERN back then. At the event organized by ALICE to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the first heavy-ion collisions at the SPS, Maiani gave his account of this piece of history of physics.

    We had an interview with him after the seminar.

    After one year of mandate as DG of CERN you had the honour and the responsibility to announce that evidence of the existence of QGP had been found at the SPS. How did you live these happenings?

    At that time I was not an expert in heavy ion physics, because I hadn’t worked in the field. Nevertheless, I was aware of the phase transition issue and of the two existing visions about what happens to nuclear matter at very high temperature. On one side there was the theory that matter would break down into a gas of quarks and gluons (and temperature could be freely increased), on the other side the model of Hagedorn about the existence of an upper limit of the temperature reachable, which could be estimated from the hadron spectrum to be 170-180 MeV.

    With the development of QCD it was possible to combine these two models. In particular, in 1975 Nicola Cabibbo and Giorgio Parisi suggested that the Hagedorn limit temperature is just the critical temperature of a phase transition from a gas of hadrons, made of confined quarks, to a gas of deconfined quarks and gluons (the QGP). These works had convinced the experts in the field.

    When the moment came to decide whether to make a public announcement about what the SPS had found, I discussed with many of the people involved, such as Claude Detraz, who was Director for Fixed Target and Future Programmes during my mandate, Reinhard Stock and Hans Specht. After examining the data and collecting opinions, I concluded that we had convincing signals that what we were observing was indeed the quark-gluon plasma.

    But the public announcement was cautious, wasn’t it? Was there still some doubt?

    I think that the announcement was quite clear. I have the text of it with me, it reads: “The data provide evidence for colour deconfinement in the early collision stage and for a collective explosion of the collision fireball in its late stages. The new state of matter exhibits many of the characteristic features of the theoretically predicted Quark-Gluon Plasma.” The key word is “evidence”, not discovery, and the evidence was there, indeed.

    In the talk I gave at that time I also described the concept of quark deconfinement using an analogy with the snow on the Jura Mountain, which I particularly like. We can consider a quark as a skier: when the temperature is not very low, on the mountain there are only patches of snow in which the skier can move. When the temperature decreases and the snow increases, the skier can move along bigger and bigger spaces, up to a point where he or she can freely sweep long distances. The same can be said for a quark confined in a hadron (the patch), which becomes free when temperature increases.

    Of course at that moment the idea still popular was that we were dealing with a phase transition to a gaseous state in which quarks and gluons would be asymptotically free. Later RHIC showed that the situation is more complicated and that this new state is much more like a liquid with very low viscosity rather than like a gas.

    The announcement came just a few months before the start of the programme of RHIC. Were there some polemics about this “timing”?

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    The Solenoidal Tracker at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)

    We were almost at the conclusion of a long and accurate experimental programme at the SPS, so making a summing up was needed. In addition, as I said, we thought there were the elements for a public announcement. And this has been proved right by later experiments.

    Somebody thought that it would make RHIC, which was going to enter in operation, appear useless. But that was not the case, since much more was left to study. Indeed in the same announcement talk I said: “the higher energies of RHIC and LHC are needed to complete the picture and provide a full characterization of the Quark-Gluon Plasma”.

    In your opinion, what is the future of this branch of research?

    Well, there are still many open problems, things that need to be studied further.

    It is very important to explore the properties of this new state of matter and the connected phenomena, to get a more precise physical picture of the new state.

    Personally, I think that there is also another possible line of research in this field: to study the production of those exotic hadronic resonances that are not included in the scheme of baryons and mesons (i.e. three quarks or quark-antiquark structures). These resonances have been observed in CMS and LHCb in pp collisions, and it would be interesting to study how they are produced in heavy-ion collisions. It could give us indications about what these objects are, tell us if they are molecules made of colourless hadrons or new states which are configurations of quarks and antiquarks (different from mesons) that include subcomponents connected by colour bounds.

    ALICE could provide an important contribution to this research. It is not easy to observe such exotic states in heavy-ion collisions but I think it is worth trying.

    4
    No image caption. No image credit.

    An iconic view of the universe
    Inflationary Universe. NASA/WMAP
    Inflationary Universe. NASA/WMAP

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 2:36 pm on February 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Exploring the Matter that Filled the Early Universe, , , , Quark Matter 2017 conference (QM17), Quark-gluon plasma” (QGP), Ultrarelativistic heavy-ion collisions   

    From BNL: “Exploring the Matter that Filled the Early Universe” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    February 6, 2017
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov

    (631) 344-8350
    Peter Genzer
    (631) 344-3174
    genzer@bnl.gov

    1
    Credit for conference logo design: Anjali Chandrashekar, student, Pratt Institute

    Theorists and scientists conducting experiments that recreate matter as it existed in the very early universe are gathered in Chicago this week to present and discuss their latest results. These experiments, conducted at the world’s premier particle colliders — the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) — are revealing intriguing information about the building blocks of visible matter and the force that holds them together in the universe today.

    BNL RHIC Campus
    BNL/RHIC Star Detector
    RHIC map and STAR detector

    CERN/LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand TunnelCERN LHC particles
    LHC at CERN

    The Quark Matter 2017 conference (QM17) will feature new results describing the particles created as atomic nuclei smash into one another at nearly the speed of light at RHIC and the LHC. These “ultrarelativistic heavy-ion collisions” melt ordinary protons and neutrons, momentarily setting free their inner constituents — quarks and gluons — so scientists can study their behavior and interactions. The physicists want to sort out the detailed properties of the hot “quark-gluon plasma” (QGP), and understand what happens as this primordial soup cools and coalesces to form the more familiar matter of today’s world.

    The two scientific collaborations conducting nuclear physics research at RHIC—STAR and PHENIX, named for their house-sized detectors—will present findings that build on earlier discoveries at this DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    Brookhaven Phenix
    Brookhaven Phenix

    The two collaborations perform cross-checking analyses to verify results, while also exploiting each detector’s unique capabilities and strengths for independent explorations. The QM17 presentations will showcase precision measurements made possible by recent detector upgrades.

    “These results illustrate how a global community of dedicated scientists is taking full advantage of RHIC’s remarkable versatility to explore in depth the structure of nuclear matter over a wide range of temperatures and densities to better understand the dynamic behavior of quarks and gluons and the strong nuclear force,” said Berndt Mueller, Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics at Brookhaven Lab. “The latest RHIC findings indicate that RHIC sits at the ‘sweet spot’ for probing the most interesting questions about the quark-gluon plasma and its transition to matter as we know it.”

    The meeting will also feature talks on the planned upgrade of the PHENIX experiment to a new RHIC detector known as sPHENIX, which will have greatly increased capabilities for tracking subatomic interactions.

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    The solenoid magnet that will form the core of the sPHENIX detector. No image credit

    In addition, at least one talk will focus on the scientific rationale for building an Electron-Ion Collider, a proposed future facility that would enable an in-depth exploration of gluons in protons and other nuclei, opening a new frontier in nuclear physics.

    In addition, at least one talk will focus on the scientific rationale for building an Electron-Ion Collider, a proposed future facility that would enable an in-depth exploration of gluons in protons and other nuclei, opening a new frontier in nuclear physics.

    Select QM 2017 Highlights from RHIC

    Does size really matter?

    Before RHIC began operations in 2000, nuclear physicists suspected it would take collisions of large nuclei such as gold to produce enough heat to create quark-gluon plasma. Since then, RHIC’s gold-gold smashups (and later collisions of lead nuclei at the LHC) have reliably recreated a soup of quarks and gluons that flows like a nearly “perfect” liquid with extraordinarily low viscosity. Scientists detect the flow by observing correlations in certain characteristics of particles streaming from the collisions even when they are relatively far apart. More recently, smashups of smaller nuclei such as helium and even single protons with the large nuclei have produced correlation patterns that suggest that smaller drops of QGP might be possible. The latest results, to be presented by PHENIX, come from collisions of protons with aluminum nuclei, and also from deuteron-gold collisions over a range of collision energies. Lowering the energy changes how long the QGP phase lasts, which should change the strength of the correlations. The new results also include the first analysis of particles emerging closest to the colliding beams in the forward and rearward directions, as tracked by the recently installed Forward Silicon Vertex Tracker. Adding this tracker to detector components picking up particles emerging more centrally, perpendicular to the colliding beams, gives the physicists a way to test in three dimensions how the correlations vary with the pressure gradients created by the asymmetrical collisions.

    Discerning differences among heavy quarks


    A virtual tour of the PHENIX detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

    PHENIX’s Central Barrel and Forward Silicon Vertex Tracker and STAR’s high precision Heavy Flavor Tracker (HFT) give RHIC physicists access to studying the behavior of so-called heavy quarks, which go by the exotic names of “charm” and “bottom.” These particles, produced in the QGP, start to decay into other particles a short distance from the collision zone, but those decay products eventually strike the trackers. By tracing their tracks, scientists can identify precisely where the decay took place. And since charm and bottom quarks have slightly different lifetimes before decaying, and therefore different travel distances, this method gives the scientists a way to tell them apart.

    Going with the flow

    One way scientists will use this data is to see how heavy quarks are affected by the QGP, and whether there are differences among them. Earlier indirect findings by PHENIX, later confirmed by STAR, already indicated that heavy quarks get swept up in the flow of the QGP, somewhat like a rock getting pulled along by a stream instead of sinking to the bottom. These observations formed part of the motivation for the construction of the STAR HFT. New data from the HFT to be presented by STAR provide the first direct evidence of heavy quark flow, and show that the interactions of these heavy particles with the QGP medium are strong. STAR’s HFT is the first application of the silicon based Monolithic Active Pixel Sensor technology in a collider environment. The measurements show that the flow of a type of heavy particles called D0s, which contain a charm quark, follows the same trend as seen for lighter particles and can be described by the same viscous hydrodynamics. The unprecedented precision in this measurement will pave the path towards precisely determining one of the intrinsic transport properties of the QGP and tell us how quarks interact with it.

    PHENIX will present precision results from its Central Barrel Vertex Detector showing that some heavy quarks are more affected by the QGP than others. The results show that charm quarks lose more energy in the QGP than heavier bottom quarks. With this high statistics data set, PHENIX will now be able to study how the energy-loss is affected by how central, or head-on, the collisions are. PHENIX will also present its first heavy-quark result from the Forward Silicon Vertex Tracker, measuring the total cross section of bottom quarks emerging in the forward and rearward directions in collisions between copper and gold ions.

    Learning how particles grow


    A virtual tour of the STAR detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

    The STAR HFT has also made it possible to make the first measurements of a particle called Lambda c emerging from RHIC collisions. Lambda c is made of three quarks—just like protons and neutrons—but with one of the three being a heavy quark. These Lambda c particles are extremely difficult to tease out from the data. But because they can only be created in energetic particle collisions, they carry unique information about the conditions within. Studying this “sentry” information carried by the Lambda c should help scientists learn how relatively “free” quarks that populate the early-stage QGP eventually coalesce and combine to form the more familiar composite particles of ordinary matter.

    Tracking high-momentum jets

    Observing how jets of particles springing from individual quarks or gluons lose energy, or get “quenched,” as they interact with the medium has been one major sign that RHIC’s energetic collisions of gold on gold were forming QGP. STAR will present several new jet studies that provide further insights into both how this quenching occurs and how the lost energy re-emerges, In addition, PHENIX will present new results exploring the question of whether collisions of smaller particles with gold, which appear to create the flow patterns of QGP, also show evidence of jet quenching. Their results include data on jet energy loss in a variety of collision systems, both large and small. The method uses photons emitted opposite the jet to calibrate how much energy the jet should have to determine whether or not there was quenching. The data show some modifications to the jet structure and the yield of high-momentum particles inside the jets, but it is not yet clear how to interpret these results.

    Taking the QGP’s temperature

    Tracking heavy quarks and particles made from them gives RHIC physicists a new way to zero in on a more precise temperature of the QGP—already known to be more than 250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun. The new precision comes from measuring how different bound states of heavy quark-antiquark pairs, held together with different amounts of energy, melt in the plasma. STAR counts up different types of these particles (for example, Upsilons, pairs of bottom and anti-bottom quarks, that come in several binding varieties) using another recently upgraded detector component called the Muon Telescope Detector. Muons are the decay products of the Upsilons. STAR uses these counts to look for a deficit of one type of Upsilon relative to another to set boundaries on the QGP temperature. The physicists are eager to compare their results with those from the LHC, where with higher collision energies, they expect to see higher temperatures.

    PHENIX’s measurements of temperature have relied on tracking photons, particles of light, emitted from the hot matter (think of the glow of an iron bar in a blacksmith’s fire, where the color of the light is related to how hot the iron is). But PHENIX’s photon data have uncovered something unusual: While collisions initially emit photons equally in all directions, fractions of a second later the emitted photons appear to have a directional preference that resembles the elliptical flow pattern of the perfect liquid QGP. This is intriguing because photons shouldn’t interact with the matter—or even be produced in such measurable quantities as the matter produced in the collisions cools and expands. To explore this mystery, PHENIX measured thermal direct photons at different gold-gold collision energies (39, 62, and 200 billion electron volts, or GeV), as well as in the smaller collision system. The results they present will shed light on the sources of these direct photons.

    Disentangling the effects of cold nuclear matter

    RHIC physicists are also learning more about “cold” nuclear matter—the state of the nucleus, filled with a field of gluons, before it collides—and how to account for its effects when studying the hot QGP. In order to disentangle the effects of cold nuclear matter, PHENIX is comparing the suppression of the excited state of the bound charm-anti-charm particle known as Psi to its ground state. They are studying collisions of protons and helium with gold or aluminum—small systems where cold nuclear matter predominates—and will use these as a baseline for better understanding the sequential melting of the bound states in the hot QGP. Their findings indicate that the less tightly bound version of the Psi is more than twice as susceptible to the effects of cold nuclear matter than the more tightly bound version. This effect must be accounted for in analyzing the data from QGP-creating collisions where the presence of both cold and hot nuclear matter influences the results.

    New way to turn down the energy

    STAR has exploited RHIC’s ability to collide nuclei over a wide range of collision energies, conducting a Beam Energy Scan to explore the creation of QGP and its transition to ordinary nuclear matter over a wide range of conditions. At QM17 they’ll present data from collisions at the lowest energy yet. Instead of colliding one beam into the beam coming into the detector from the opposite direction, as occurs in most RHIC experiments, STAR placed a stationary target (a foil of gold) within the beam pipe inside STAR and aimed just one beam at the target. Like a collision in which one moving car crashes into one that is parked, this fixed-target collision lowered the impact compared to what would occur if both beams (or cars) were moving and colliding head on. Data from these low energy collisions will be an integral part of phase two of the Beam Energy Scan, which is enabled by improvements to the RHIC accelerator complex that allow for higher collision rates.

    Research at RHIC is funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and by these agencies and organizations.

    See the full article here .

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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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