We investigate the QCD phase diagram for nonzero background magnetic fields using first-principles lattice simulations. At the physical point (in terms of quark masses), the thermodynamics of this system is controlled by two opposing effects: magnetic catalysis (enhancement of the quark condensate) at low temperature and inverse magnetic catalysis (reduction of the condensate) in the transition region. While the former is known to be robust and independent of the details of the interactions, inverse catalysis arises as a result of a delicate competition, effective only for light quarks. By performing simulations at different quark masses, we determine the pion mass above which inverse catalysis does not take place in the transition region anymore. Even for pions heavier than this limiting value — where the quark condensate undergoes magnetic catalysis — our results are consistent with the notion that the transition temperature is reduced by the magnetic field. These findings will be useful to guide low-energy models and effective theories of QCD.
- Lattice QCD
- Phase Diagram of QCD
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics