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Gravitational collisions and the quark-gluon plasma

Wilke van der Schee
Journal / Anthology

PhD Thesis, Institute for Theoretical Physics and Institute for Subatomic Physics, Utrecht University
Year: 2014
Volume: July

This thesis addresses the thermalisation of heavy-ion collisions within the context of the AdS/CFT duality. The first part clarifies the numerical set-up and studies the relaxation of far-from-equilibrium modes in homogeneous systems. Less trivially we then study colliding shock waves and uncover a transparent regime where the strongly coupled shocks initially pass right through each other. Furthermore, in this regime the later plasma relaxation is insensitive to the longitudinal profile of the shock, implying in particular a universal rapidity shape at strong coupling and high collision energies. Lastly, we study radial expansion in a boost-invariant set-up, allowing us to find good agreement with head-on collisions performed at the LHC accelerator. As a secondary goal of this thesis, a special effort is made to clearly expose numerical computations by providing commented Mathematica notebooks for most calculations presented. Furthermore, we provide interpolating functions of the geometries computed, which can be of use in other projects.

*Science > Physics