CERN achievements in relativistic heavy ion collisions
Dipartimento Interateneo di Fisica ‘M. Merlin’ and Sezione INFN, Bari, Italy
a e-mail: Giuseppe.Bruno@cern.ch
Published online: 29 May 2015
Twenty years after a Letter of Intent by the GSI and LBL groups for the “Study of particle production and target fragmentation in central 20Ne on Pb reactions, at 12 GeV per nucleon energy of the CERN PS external beam" , based on the results found by the NA45/CERES, NA49, NA50, and WA97/NA57 experiments at the SPS, CERN announced compelling evidence for the formation of a new state of matter in heavyion collisions at CERN-SPS energies . Some of the experiments were indeed the 2nd or 3rd generation successors of the apparatuses originally proposed by the GSI-LBL collaboration. Actually, the CERN ion program initiated at the SPS with the acceleration of oxygen ions at 60 and 200 GeV/nucleon only in 1986, and continued with sulphur ions at 200 GeV/nucleon up to 1993. The rest is history: lead-ion beams at 160 GeV/nucleon became available at the SPS in 1994; the LHC accelerated and collided lead beams at a center of mass energy per nucleon pair √sNN = 2.76 TeV in 2010. Heavy ion physics is definitely in the future program of CERN: ALICE will operate a major upgrade of its detectors during the second long shutdown of the LHC, in 2018-2019, and the associated physics program will span the third and fourth LHC runs, till late 2020s.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
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