The "perfect" fluid quenches jets almost perfectly
The QCD matter produced in nuclear collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) has been found to have a very low shear viscosity, which is close to the lower bound allowed by unitarity. The matter has also been found to strongly suppress the emission of energetic hadrons. This phenomenon, called "jet quenching" is interpreted to be the result of a large energy loss by the precursor parton on its path through the dense matter, primarily due to gluon radiation. I discuss how the two phenomena are related. The RHIC data suggest, in some scenarios of jet quenching, that the quark-gluon plasma created in nuclear collisions is characterized by strong coupling, but still admits a quasi-particle description. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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