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Tuesday, April 16

ALICE Experiment Results at the End of LHC Run-­-1: Plans for Run-­-2 and Upgrade Strategy for Run-­-3

Thomas M. Cormier, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
ORNL Physics Division Seminar
3:00 PM — 4:00 PM, ORNL, Building 6008 Large Conference Room
Contact: Vince Cianciolo (, 865.574.4712


The US nuclear physics program has made a significant investment in the relativistic heavy ion program in the ALICE experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at The European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) produces the highest energy colliding proton and ion beams in the world. Data was recorded through Run-1 with colliding beams of protons at a center of mass energy of 8 TeV, Pb+Pb at a center of mass energy of 2.76 TeV per nucleon and p+Pb at a center of mass energy of 5 TeV per nucleon. For the heavy ion collisions, this represents almost a factor of 14 above the highest energy available in the US at the RHIC facility.

Over the last several years, the ORNL Nuclear Physics Group has played a leading role in defining the ALICE-USA Collaboration's scientific agenda and in proposing constructing, commissioning and utilizing a pair of large electromagnetic calorimeters that literally opened the high transverse momentum sector in ALICE. Many DOE and NSF funded university and national laboratory groups now participate in the three major LHC experiments that participate in heavy ion running. By far, the largest US nuclear physics participation at the LHC is in the ALICE experiment.

ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is the dedicated heavy ion experiment at the LHC studying PbPb and pPb collision to probe the properties of the Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP). The QGP state, first hinted at in CERN SPS fixed target experiments, and now conclusively demonstrated in RHIC and LHC experiments, is a form of, strongly interacting, color-deconfined matter thought to have pervaded the universe for the first micro-second or so after the Big Bang. The subsequent evolution of the Universe has hidden the epoch of the QGP from direct astrophysical observation. However, in the ultra-high energy collisions of large nuclei at RHIC and the LHC, ordinary hadronic matter of neutrons and protons is heated and compressed to melt into "free" constituent quarks and gluons simulating the conditions of the early Universe. Through a variety of experimental observations on the decay products of the expanding and cooling sample of QGP we are able to deduce the properties of QGP matter including some essential features of its equation of state.

In this talk, I will discuss a few of the key results to come from ALICE in LHC Run-1 with emphasis on those which guide the run plan for LHC full energy in Run-2 and define our upgrade proposals for high luminosity physics in Run-3. I will discuss both short and long term plans for LHC running and ALICE detector upgrade planning intended to keep pace with the proposed physics program and developing accelerator capabilities.