Heavy-ion collisions - hot QCD in a lab
Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Heavy-ion collisions - hot QCD in a lab


High-energy heavy-ion collisions provide a unique opportunity to study the properties of the hot and dense strongly-interacting system composed of deconfined quarks and gluons -- the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) -- in laboratory conditions. The formation of a QGP is predicted by lattice QCD calculations as a crossover transition from hadronic matter (at zero baryochemical potential) and is expected to take place once the system temperature reaches values above 155 MeV and/or the energy density above $0.5~\mathrm{GeV}/\mathrm{fm}^{3}$. The nature of such a strongly coupled QGP has been linked to the early Universe at some microseconds after the Big Bang. To characterize the physical properties of the short-lived matter (lifetime of about $10~\mathrm{fm}/c$) experimental studies at Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider and the Large Hadron collider use auto-generated probes, such as high-energy partons created early in the hadronic collisions, thermally emitted photons, and a set of particle correlations that are sensitive to the collective expansion and the dynamics of the system. The lectures briefly introduced some of the experimental techniques and provided a glimpse at some of the results.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View