Start Date: 7/15/2011
Award Number: 1067907
NSF Funding Organization: PHY
Principal Investigator: Salur, Sevil
Award Amount: $282000
Program(s): NUCLEAR STRUCTURE & REACTIONS
Abstract: Quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the fundamental theory of the strong force, predicts the liberation of quarks and gluons to create a new phase of matter, the Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP). During the last 10 years, experiments performed at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) tested this prediction and explored the properties of this novel form of matter. While the naive interpretations of QCD calculations suggested that this QGP produced at RHIC should behave like a dilute gas, the experimental results provided evidence that it behaves more like a nearly `perfect' liquid, which is opaque to the passage of colored partons. In November 2010, LHC successfully delivered the first heavy ion collisions at an unprecedented center-of-mass energy of 2.76 TeV to explore new regions of the phase diagram. A wide variety of energetic hard probe measurements will be available over a broad extended kinematic range at LHC. These new measurements will quantify the fundamental properties of QGP. The intellectual merit of this proposal derives from the PI's focus on hard probes as a diagnostic tool to determine the detailed properties of the hot QCD matter. For a more complete, quantitative and discriminatory picture of quenching of the color partons and to avoid intrinsic biases of leading hadron measurements, the PI will reconstruct jets in relativistic heavy ion collisions at LHC using the CMS detector. She proposes to transform knowledge of the large color opaqueness of the QGP to the determination of its fundamental properties by the measurements of jet structure and its modification in terms of energy flow by an unbiased full jet reconstruction to measure nuclear modification ratios of jets. With these robust measurements, she will determine key features of QGP such as how hot QCD medium responds to jet energy loss and how QGP affects jet structures. For broader impacts of this project, the PI plans to establish a cultivating environment for a diverse and competitive work force in nuclear physics via integration of active research and education. She will recruit and mentor two minority and female junior undergraduates from Rutgers's Aresty program for the summer term and continue supporting them throughout the year. She plans to include these undergraduates in all phases of research, including data taking, analysis, presentation of results at meetings, and writing refereed papers.