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Getting to Know Matter and Understanding the Evolution of the Universe

Phase diagram of quantum chromodynamics

Phase diagram of quantum chromodynamics, figure by Larry McLerran

Dr hab. Eng. Hanna Zbroszczyk, a WUT Professor from the Faculty of Physics, has won the SONATA BIS competition organized by the National Science Centre. As part of the project, a new team will be created which will focus on astrophysics research.

Scientists from the Warsaw University of Technology will cooperate closely in two experiments carried out at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt and the FAIR — Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research, namely HADES (already operational) and CBM (under construction).

“The results of almost three decades of studies of relativistic heavy ion collisions, in particular the decade related to the use of the largest accelerators — the LHC at the CERN and RHIC at BNL — led to the formation of a new state of matter in which the so-called quark degrees of freedom are released, i.e. the smallest but at the same time indivisible components of matter”, explains Professor Zbroszczyk.

Getting to Know Neutron Stars

The results obtained so far have described the conditions for high temperature and low values of baryonic chemical potential, where the mutual proportions of baryons and antibaryons are almost identical. Using lower energies of collision of elementary particles and heavy ions, it is possible to study the properties of matter with lower temperature and higher baryon density values.

“Our goal is to study the phase diagram of quantum chromodynamics in a hitherto unexplored region of the phase diagram, relevant for one of the hottest topics in astrophysics recently — neutron stars”, explained Prof. Zbroszczyk.

The CBM experiment will be very important for the research. Its unique ability to process a very large amount of data per time unit and the speed of interaction will allow to obtain very precise measurement results.

“So far, several methods of studying baryon density regions in neutron stars have been proposed”, explains Professor Zbroszczyk. “Our focus is on particle correlations.”

New lines of research

The results sought by scientists are an important element of our knowledge of the structure and properties of matter.

“We are confident that our results will contribute to setting new lines of research in the physics of relativistic nuclear reactions”, said Professor Zbroszczyk. “The results of these studies also directly relate to the understanding of the first moments of the evolution of the universe.

The project “Exploring the Phase Diagram of Strongly Interacting QCD Matter in HADES and CBM Experiments at GSI / FAIR” is financed by the National Science Centre (the SONATA BIS 10 call).

Project Lead: dr hab. inż. Hanna Zbroszczyk, WUT Professor

Project duration: April 2021 to April 2026