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Reverse engineering of heavy-ion collisions : unraveling initial conditions from anisotropic flow data

Abstract : Ultra-Relativistic heavy-ion physics is a promising field of high energy physics connecting two fields: nuclear physics and elementary particle physics. Experimental achievements of the last years have provided an opportunity to study the properties of a new state of matter created in heavy-ion collisions called quark-gluon plasma. The initial state of two colliding nuclei is affected by fluctuations coming from wave- functions of nucleons. These fluctuations lead to the momentum anisotropy of the hadronic matter which is observed by the detectors. The system created in the collision behaves like a fluid, so the initial state is connected to the final state via hydrodynamic evolution. In this thesis we model the evolution with relativistic viscous hydrodynamics. Our results, combined with experimental data, give non trivial constraints on the initial state, thus achieving "reverse engineering" of the heavy-ion collisions. The observable which characterizes the momentum anisotropy is the anisotropic flow vn. We present the first measurements of the first harmonic of the anisotropic flow called directed flow v1 in Pb-Pb collisions at the LHC. We then perform the first viscous hydrodynamic modeling of directed flow and show that it is less sensitive to viscosity than higher harmonics. Comparison of these experimental data with the modeling allows to extract the values of the dipole asymmetry of the initial state, which provides constraints on the models of initial states. A prediction for directed flow v1 in Au-Au collisions is also made for RHIC. We then perform a similar modeling of the second and third harmonics of the anisotropic flow, called respectively elliptic v2 and triangular v3 flow. A combined analysis of the elliptic and triangular flow data compared with viscous hydrodynamic calculations allows us to put constraints on initial ellipticity and triangularity of the system. These constraints are then used as a filter for different models of initial state. At the end of this thesis, we show perspectives in the studies of the initial state which are opened by recent measurements of event-plane correlations which could shed light on the initial state fluctuations.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 26, 2014 - 12:27:08 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01068777, version 1



Ekaterina Retinskaya. Reverse engineering of heavy-ion collisions : unraveling initial conditions from anisotropic flow data. Nuclear Theory [nucl-th]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014PA112100⟩. ⟨tel-01068777⟩



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