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Advantages of high-energy heavy-ion collisions over proton-proton collisions?

Advantages of high-energy heavy-ion collisions over proton-proton collisions?


1 Answers

askIITians Faculty 747 Points
5 years ago
as a clarification the energy per nucleon is always lower: for example, currently in the lhc the proton top energy is 3.5 tev. now the pb energy is 3.5 tev times z so the energy per nucleon is 3.5*z/a and a is greater than z for every nucleus (except the proton where it is equal to one).

but the goal of ion-ion collision is not to increase the total energy or the energy per nucleon: it is to obtain a different type of collision.

it should be noted than in a proton-proton collision, the energy involved in the real collision process is variable: each quark and gluon carry a fraction of the energy of the proton, and hard collision involve a collision between a quark/gluon of one proton against a quark/gluon of the other.

in the case of ion-ion collision you have the same process: the energy is shared by the protons/neutrons and they can have different energies.

the goal of such collision is also to obtain a volume (bigger than in a p-p collision) with a very high energy density. in such a volume, a "state of matter" called quark-gluon-plasma is believed to be possibly created. the study of this qgp is one of the main goal of the alice experiment at the lhc.

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