Strongly coupled quark-gluon plasma in heavy ion collisions
AbstractA decade ago, a brief summary of the field of the relativistic heavy ion physics could be formulated as the discovery of strongly coupled quark-gluon plasma, sQGP for short, a near-perfect fluid with surprisingly large entropy-density-to-viscosity ratio. Since 2010, the LHC heavy ion program added excellent new data and discoveries. Significant theoretical efforts have been made to understand these phenomena. Now there is a need to consolidate what we have learned and formulate a list of issues to be studied next. Studies of angular correlations of two and more secondaries reveal higher harmonics of flow, identified as the sound waves induced by the initial state perturbations. As in cosmology, detailed measurements and calculations of these correlations helped to make our knowledge of the explosion much more quantitative. In particular, their damping had quantified the viscosity. Other kinetic coefficients—the heavy-quark diffusion constants and the jet quenching parameters—also show enhancements near the critical point T≈Tc. Since densities of QGP quarks and gluons strongly decrease at this point, these facts indicate large role of nonperturbative mechanisms, e.g., scattering on monopoles. New studies of the pp and pA collisions at high multiplicities reveal collective explosions similar to those in heavy ion AA collisions. These “smallest drops of the sQGP” revived debates about the initial out-of-equilibrium stage of the collisions and mechanisms of subsequent equilibration.