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Nuclear Matter at High Density, the Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP)

Abstract : Quantum Chromodynamics, the theory of strong interaction, predicts a new phase of matter for extremely high temperature and/or density. In contrast to normal (hadronic) matter where each quark either pairs up with an antiquark to form a meson or joins with two other quarks to form a baryon, this new phase consists of a fluid in which quarks and gluons can roam freely. It is called the Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP). The QGP is thought to have existed briefly a few microseconds after the Big Bang, and might also exist inside the cores of neutron stars. The QGP can be created in the laboratory by colliding two heavy nuclei at high energy. The nuclei are accelerated to ultra-relativistic speeds, slammed into each other and produce a hot and dense medium in which the QGP possibly forms. The experimental study of the QGP has started at CERN's Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) in the 1980s and is currently pursued at the Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). Future researches will take place at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which will deliver its first beams in fall 2009. Among the four LHC experiments, ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is a detector specially designed for the study of the QGP. The ALICE collaboration consists of more than 1000 physicists coming from 109 institutes in 30 countries. After a general introduction on the elementary constituents of matter and on the QGP, the progress in the field will be reviewed. The physics goals and the experimental program of the ALICE experiment will be then presented.
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Contributor : Jeanine Pellet <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 6, 2009 - 3:31:31 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 6:13:36 AM


  • HAL Id : in2p3-00402050, version 1



P. Crochet. Nuclear Matter at High Density, the Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP). European Summer University "The Secrets of the Atomic Nucleus", Jun 2009, Strasbourg, France. ⟨in2p3-00402050⟩



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