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The ALICE Experiment

ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is a dedicated heavy ion experiment at the LHC. The goal of the experiment is to study strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities (QCD thermodynamics). Statistical QCD predicts that, at sufficiently high densities, there will be a transition from hadronic matter to a plasma of deconfined quarks and gluons - a transition which in the early universe took place about 100 micro-seconds after the Big Bang. The study of nuclear collisions at high energies utilizes methods and concepts from both nuclear and high energy physics constituting a new and interdisciplinary approach in investigating matter and its interactions.

The ALICE collaboration has built a dedicated, general-purpose detector that utilizes the full potential of the LHC programme including both nucleus-nucleus and proton-proton collisions. Its design is based on the experiencies gained with the existing programs at CERN and BNL and addresses a majority of known sensitive observables like hadrons, di-leptons and photons. The ALICE detector is the only heavy ion experiment at LHC and its design therefore has to be conservative and robust to be able to observe most of the signals that look promosing today for the QGP formation.

The figure above shows the ALICE experiment. The detector is contained in a big magnet of about 6 meters radius. The detector must have the capability of detecting the produced particles with very high precision. This requires different systems of specially designed detectors based on very advanced technologies.

You can read more on the ALICE home page at CERN.

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