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Particles of Light May Create Fluid Flow, Data-Theory Comparison Suggests

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This graphic shows the energy density at different times during the hydrodynamic evolution of the matter created in a collision of a lead nucleus (moving to the left) with a photon emitted from the other lead nucleus (moving to the right).

The “elliptic flow” pattern was one of the earliest hints that particle collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider could create a quark-gluon plasma.

Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

A computational analysis by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and Wayne State University supports the idea that photons colliding with heavy ions can create a fluid of “strongly interacting” particles.

The researchers found calculations defining such a scheme correlate with data collected by the ATLAS detector at Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The calculations are based on the hydrodynamic particle flow observed in head-on collisions of various types of ions at the LHC and the Brookhaven Lab's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

Said Brookhaven Lab's Bjoern Schenke, "For these low energy photon-lead collisions, it is important to run a full 3D hydrodynamic model (which is more computationally demanding) because the particle distribution changes more rapidly as you go out in the longitudinal direction."

From Brookhaven National Laboratory
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