Experimental Nuclear and Heavy Ion Physics,
Physics and Astronomy, SUNY Stony Brook
Jet Quenching and the
Quark Gluon Plasma at RHIC
With the launch of BNL's relativistic heavy ion collider, RHIC, we have
stepped into a new era of high energy nuclear physics. The first three
successful running campaigns with Au-Au, p-p, and d-Au collisions have
brought a wealth of physics results, the most exciting being the discovery of
suppressed production of high momentum hadrons in central Au-Au collisions.
The data have been interpreted as "jet quenching" owing to huge energy loss
by rapidly moving partons in a quark gluon plasma. However, alternative
explanations exist, which cannot not be ruled out on the basis of Au-Au data
alone. Over the past weeks, however, new results from d-Au collisions have
emerged. They rule out extant alternative explanations of jet quenching and
hence support the conjecture that quark matter is formed at RHIC.