Updates tagged: “Heavy Ion”
In October 2017, the ATLAS experiment recorded collisions of xenon nuclei for the first time. While massive compared to a proton, xenon nuclei are smaller than the lead ions typically collided in the LHC. The xenon-xenon collision data, combined with previous results from the analysis of lead-lead collisions, provide the first opportunity to examine heavy ion collisions in a system that is distinctly smaller in size. This allows physicists to study in detail the role of the collision geometry for observables often associated with the quark-gluon plasma.
Heavy ion collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) form a hot, dense medium called the quark-gluon plasma (QGP), in which the primary constituents are thought to be quarks and gluons produced in the initial interactions of the nuclei. Besides typical heavy ion collisions, where the nucleons in the colliding nuclei undergo multiple strong interactions with each other, there is also a class of “ultraperipheral” collisions. In these collisions, the nuclei are far enough apart to miss each other, but the surrounding electromagnetic field of one nucleus is able to interact both with the other nucleus (“photonuclear” interactions) and with the other electromagnetic field (“photon-photon” interactions).
Take something you think you understand, change it and see what happens. Earlier this month, the ATLAS Experiment put this basic scientific principle to the test during the first Large Hadron Collider (LHC) xenon run.
Collisions of lead nuclei in the LHC form the hot, dense medium known as the quark-gluon plasma (QGP). Experimentally, the QGP is characterized by the collective flow of emerging quarks and gluons. They fragment into highly collimated “jets” of particles that in turn lose energy through a phenomenon known as “jet quenching”. Studying this effect can help improve our understanding of quantum chromodynamics, the theory of the strong nuclear interaction that governs the behaviour of the QGP.
In order to produce rare physics phenomena, such as the Higgs boson or possible signs of new physics, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) collides tens of millions of protons per second. Under such conditions, around 20 simultaneous proton-proton interactions occur in each beam crossing. Thus, additional collisions called “pile-up” are recorded along with the collision of interest. Together, they form a single event for analysis.
When ultra-relativistic heavy ions collide, a new state of hot and dense matter – the quark–gluon plasma (QGP) – is created. One of the key features for this state is the observation of long-range azimuthal angle correlations between particles emitted over a wide range of pseudorapidity. This phenomenon is often referred to as the “ridge”.
Heavy-ion physics is the study of the hot dense medium created shortly after the Big Bang. Physicists examine this medium in three collision systems: lead-lead, proton-lead and proton-proton collisions.
The Large Hadron Collider is known to collide protons, but for one month a year, beams of lead ions are circulated in the 27-km tunnel and made to collide in the centre of the experiments. The ATLAS experiment has made new precise measurements of the suppression of jets as they blast through the dense matter created by the lead ion collisions.
ATLAS has prepared a variety of new results for the Quark Matter 2014 conference using lead-lead (Pb+Pb) and proton-lead (p+Pb) data collected during Run1.
The Quark Matter conference, which takes place every two years, is this year being organised in Washington, DC, USA on 13-18 August 2012 (QM2012). It will bring together both experimentalists and theorists from all over the world who are studying heavy ion physics at ultra high energies.