ALICE Kollaboration/CERN
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NUCLEAR PHYSICS icon research group

Heavy-ion physics at the LHC

ALICE is one of the four big experiments at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is dedicated to the investigation of the nucleus-nucleus collisions. The aim of ALICE Collaboration is to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities, where the formation of a new phase of matter, the quark-gluon plasma, is expected.
The ALICE group at Heidelberg and GSI has made significant contribution to the design and construction of the two key detectors subsystems of ALICE, the Time Projection Chamber (TPC) and the Transition Radiation Detector (TRD). Today, the group is strongly involved in the operation and calibration of the TPC and TRD subsystems, as well as in the physics analysis of the ALICE data.

Heavy-ion physics at FAIR

The Compressed Baryonic Matter (CBM) experiment will be one of the major scientific pillars of the future Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) in Darmstadt. The goal of the CBM research program is to explore the QCD phase diagram in the region of high baryon densities using high-energy nucleus-nucleus collisions. This includes the study of the equation-of-state of nuclear matter at neutron star core densities, and the search for phase transitions, chiral symmetry restoration, and exotic forms of (strange) QCD matter. The CBM detector is designed to measure the collective behavior of hadrons, together with rare diagnostic probes such as multi-strange hyperons, charmed particles and vector mesons decaying into lepton pairs with unprecedented precision and statistics. Most of these particles will be studied for the first time in the FAIR energy range. In order to achieve the required precision, the measurements will be performed at reaction rates up to 10 MHz. This requires very fast and radiation hard detectors, a novel data read-out and analysis concept including free streaming front-end electronics, and a high performance computing cluster for online event selection.