Isotropization and thermalization in heavy-ion collisions
Department of Physics, The Ohio State University, 43210, Columbus, OH, USA
Accepted: 2 January 2006
Published online: 23 August 2006
We argue that isotropization and, consequently, thermalization of the system of gluons and quarks produced in an ultrarelativistic heavy-ion collision does not follow from Feynman diagram analysis to any order in the coupling constant. We conclude that the apparent thermalization of quarks and gluons, leading to success of perfect fluid hydrodynamics in describing heavy-ion collisions at RHIC, can only be attributed to the non-perturbative QCD effects not captured by Feynman diagrams. We proceed by modeling these non-pertrubative thermalization effects using viscous hydrodynamics. We point out that matching Color Glass Condensate inital conditions with viscous hydrodynamics leads to a continuous evolution of all the components of the energy-momentum tensor and, unlike the case of ideal hydrodynamics, does not give rise to a discontinuity in the longitudinal pressure. An important consequence of such a matching is a relationship between the thermalization time and shear viscosity: we observe that small viscosity leads to short thermalization time.
PACS: 24.85.+p Quarks, gluons, and QCD in nuclei and nuclear processes – / 25.75.-q Relativistic heavy-ion collisions – / 25.75.Nq Quark deconfinement, quark-gluon plasma production, and phase transitions –
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag, 2006