The physics of light quarks, heavy quarks and jets in heavy ion collisions
Ivan Vitev, LosAlamos Laboratory
The search for new states of matter at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and the advent of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN have stimulated exciting recent developments in the field of many-body perturbative QCD. These are primarily related to the production and modification of energetic particles and jets. I will review the success of the jet quenching theory for light hadrons only to contrast it to the surprisingly large suppression of the non-photonic electrons, coming from the decay of heavy charm and beauty mesons, which remains a challenge for heavy ion phenomenology. Collisional dissociation of heavy mesons in the quark-gluon plasma presents a possible solution to the heavy flavor puzzle at RHIC and illustrates the importance of hadron formation time effects in collisions of heavy nuclei. I will also show that formation time physics can provide insights to the ability of heavy resonances to provide information about chiral symmetry restoration in QCD in collisions of heavy nuclei. LHC is expected to usher a new golden era in high energy particle and nuclear physics and jets will play the leading role in the planned discovery of the Higgs, supersymmetry, and the search for large extra dimensions. For heavy ion physics LHC will offer the unique opportunity to study jets in nuclear collisions. I will discuss novel signatures of jet interactions in matter and their potential to provide information for the QCD phase transition, the properties of the QGP. Special attention will be devoted to recen developments in understanding jet shapes and jet topologies from vacuum and medium-induced gluon bremsstrahlung.