QCD Matter

Quark matter or QCD matter refers to any of a number of theorized phases of matter whose degrees of freedom include quarks and gluons. These theoretical phases would occur at extremely high temperatures and densities, billions of times higher than can be produced in equilibrium in laboratories. Under such extreme conditions, the familiar structure of matter, where the basic constituents are nuclei (consisting of nucleons which are bound states of quarks) and electrons, is disrupted. In quark matter it is more appropriate to treat the quarks themselves as the basic degrees of freedom.

In the standard model of particle physics, the strong force is described by the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). At ordinary temperatures or densities this force just confines the quarks into composite particles (hadrons) of size around 10−15 m = 1 femtometer = 1 fm (corresponding to the QCD energy scale ΛQCD ≈ 200 MeV) and its effects are not noticeable at longer distances. However, when the temperature reaches the QCD energy scale (T of order 1012 kelvins) or the density rises to the point where the average inter-quark separation is less than 1 fm (quark chemical potential μ around 400 MeV), the hadrons are melted into their constituent quarks, and the strong interaction becomes the dominant feature of the physics. Such phases are called quark matter or QCD matter.

The strength of the color force makes the properties of quark matter unlike gas or plasma, instead leading to a state of matter more reminiscent of a liquid. At high densities, quark matter is a Fermi liquid, but is predicted to exhibit color superconductivity at high densities and temperatures below 1012 K.

List of unsolved problems in physics
QCD in the non-perturbative regime: quark matter. The equations of QCD predict that a sea of quarks and gluons should be formed at high temperature and density. What are the properties of this phase of matter?

Read more about QCD Matter:  Thermodynamics, Phase Diagram, Theoretical Challenges: Calculation Techniques, Experimental Challenges

Other articles related to "qcd matter, matter, qcd":

QCD Matter - Experimental Challenges
... Experimentally, it is hard to map the phase diagram of quark matter because it has been rather difficult to learn how to tune to high enough temperatures and density in the ... However, these collisions ultimately will provide information about the crossover from hadronic matter to QGP ... Some ambitious lattice QCD calculations may have found evidence for it, and future calculations will clarify the situation ...

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