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Interaction of ultra-relativistic ions in the LHC experiment ALICE

Study of heavy ion collisions at ultra high energies represents a hot issue in the contemporary nuclear and particle physics. A fundamental motivation for this study is to verify the prediction of the current theory of the strong interaction (called Quantum Chromo-Dynamics), which implies that at very high temperatures and very high densities of the nuclear matter, quarks and gluons should no longer be confined inside composite particles. Instead they should exist freely in a new state of matter known as quark-gluon plasma (QGP). We believe that entire Universe was in this state for the short moment just after the Big Bang. We expect similar conditions will be created in the volume of colliding nuclei in the experiment ALICE at LHC. Our Institute participates in this project and at present carries out the following tasks:
  1. In the cooperation with the factory TENEZ Chotebor a demanding supporting structure (CRADLE) was produced. Many thousands of crystals PbWO4 of many tons of total weight are fitted to the CRADLE. These crystals constitute the basis of electromagnetic spectrometer PHOS. At the same time a testing of crystals has been performed. Our group participates in completion, maintenance and operation of the PHOS.
  2. Monte-Carlo simulations and analysis of some processes in the ALICE experiment are performed on the PC farm GOLIAS. This is a first step to the analysis of real experimental data, which will start by 2010.