Critical opalescence: An optical signature for a QCD critical point

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Abstract

Four possible scenarios are considered for a transition from a quark-gluon matter to hadronic matter, and their corresponding correlation signatures are discussed. Four criteria are highlighted for a definitive experimental search for a QCD critical point. An old-new experimental measure, the optical opacity (or its inverse the nuclear attenuation length) is determined, in terms of a combination of nuclear suppression factors and a measurement of the relevant fireball length scales. Length scale estimates using either the Hanbury Brown - Twiss radii or that of the initial nuclear geometry for measurements of optical opacity with respect to the reaction plane yield, somewhat surprizingly, nearly the same nuclear attenuation lenght in 0-5 % most central 200 GeV Au+Au collisions, corresponding to 2.9 ± 0.3 fm. The necessity and the possibility of measuring critical exponents is also discussed in the context of determination of the universality class of the QCD critical point. Critical opalescence is proposed to locate such a critical point on the QCD phase diagram, corresponding to a maximum of optical opacity in heavy ion experiments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of Science
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2009
Event5th International Workshop on Critical Point and Onset of Deconfinement, CPOD 2009 - Long Island, NY, United States
Duration: Jun 8 2009Jun 12 2009

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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