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Creation of quark-gluon plasma droplets with three distinct shapes  
On December 10, 2018 the PHENIX collaboration, including professors Drees, Hemmick and their team, reported the "Creation of small droplets of quark-gluon plasma with three distinct geometries" in Nature Physics. Stony Brook's contribution to the publication was led by Senior Postdoctoral Fellow Carlos E. Perez-Lara.

In collisions of heavy nuclei at relativistic energies droplets quark-gluon plasma (QGP), a state of hot, dense nuclear matter in which quarks and gluons are not bound into hadrons. The rapid expansion of the nearly inviscid fluid translates any initial spatial anisotropy effectively into correlated momentum anisotropies among the particles produced, a pattern known as collective flow. Such flow patterns have recently also been seen small systems created in p+p and p+Au collisions, despite expectations that the volume and lifetime of the produced medium would be too small to form a QGP. PHENIX used the versatility of the RHIC accelerator at Brookhaven National Laboratory to measure flow patterns of particles produced in proton-gold (p+Au), deuteron-gold (d+Au) and helium-gold (3He+Au) collisions. The combination of these three uniquely different initial geometries and the measurement of two flow patterns provided unprecedented model discrimination. Hydrodynamical models, which include the formation of a short-lived QGP droplet, provide the best simultaneous description of the PHENIX measurements

See the Nature Physics paper, or read the press release by the University.

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