ALICE mission

The ALICE Collaboration has built a detector optimized to study the collisions of nuclei at the ultra-relativistic energies provided by the LHC. The aim is to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at the highest energy densities reached so far in the laboratory. In such conditions, an extreme phase of matter - called the quark-gluon plasma - is formed. Our universe is thought to have been in such a primordial state for the first few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, before quarks and gluons were bound together to form protons and neutrons. Recreating this primordial state of matter in the laboratory and understanding how it evolves will allow us to shed light on questions about how matter is organized and the mechanisms that confine quarks and gluons. For this purpose, we are carrying out a comprehensive study of the hadrons, electrons, muons, and photons produced in the collisions of heavy nuclei (208Pb). ALICE is also studying proton-proton and proton-nucleus collisions both as a comparison with nucleus-nucleus collisions and in their own right. In 2021 ALICE is completing a significant upgrade of its detectors to further enhance its capabilities and continue its scientific journey at the LHC for many years to come.

Recent highlights


Recent highlights

Proton-φ momentum correlation function as a function of relative momentum, compared to the fit function, measured for the first time by the ALICE collaboration at the LHC in pp collisions at 13 TeV.
Inclusive J/ψ production cross section measured at midrapidity for pp collisions compared to model calculations (left), and the beauty cross section at midrapidty as a function of c.m. energy (right panel).
The ALICE Collaboration participates in EPS-HEP2021 with 1 plenary, 27 parallel and 7 poster presenters.

Latest ALICE Submissions

General balance functions of identified charged hadron pairs of $(π,{\rm K},{\rm p})$ in Pb$-$Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}} = 2.76$ TeVFirst measurements of balance functions (BFs) of all combinations of identified charged hadron $(\pi,\rm K,\rm p)$ pairs in Pb$-$Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}} = 2.76$ TeV recorded by the ALICE detector are presented. The BF measurements are carried out as two-dimensional differential correlators versus the relative rapidity ($\Delta y$) and azimuthal angle ($\Delta\varphi$) of hadron pairs, and studied as a function of collision centrality. The $\Delta\varphi$ dependence of BFs is expected to be sensitive to the light quark diffusivity in the quark$-$gluon plasma. While the BF azimuthal widths of all pairs substantially decrease from peripheral to central collisions, the longitudinal widths exhibit mixed behaviors: BFs of $\pi\pi$ and cross-species pairs narrow significantly in more central collisions, whereas those of $\rm KK$ and $\rm pp$ are found to be independent of collision centrality. This dichotomy is qualitatively consistent with the presence of strong radial flow effects and the existence of two stages of quark production in relativistic heavy-ion collisions. Finally, the first measurements of the collision centrality evolution of BF integrals are presented, with the observation that charge balancing fractions are nearly independent of collision centrality in Pb$-$Pb collisions. Overall, the results presented provide new and challenging constraints for theoretical models of hadron production and transport in relativistic heavy-ion collisions.
Measurement of inclusive charged-particle b-jet production in pp and p-Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}} = 5.02$ TeVA measurement of the inclusive b-jet production cross section is presented in pp and p-Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}} = 5.02$ TeV, using data collected with the ALICE detector at the LHC. The jets were reconstructed in the central rapidity region $|\eta| < ~0.5$ from charged particles using the anti-$k_{\rm T}$ algorithm with resolution parameter $R=0.4$. Identification of b jets exploits the long lifetime of b-hadrons, using the properties of secondary vertices and impact parameter distributions. The $p_{\rm T}$-differential inclusive production cross section of b jets, as well as the corresponding inclusive b-jet fraction, are reported for pp and p-Pb collisions in the jet transverse momentum range $10 \le p_{\text{T, ch jet}} \le 100$ GeV/$c$, together with the nuclear modification factor, $R_{\rm pPb}^{\text{b-jet}}$. The analysis thus extends the lower $p_{\rm T}$ limit of b-jet measurements at the LHC. The nuclear modification factor is found to be consistent with unity, indicating that the production of b jets in p--Pb at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}} = 5.02$ TeV is not affected by cold nuclear matter effects within the current precision. The measurements are well reproduced by POWHEG NLO pQCD calculations with PYTHIA fragmentation.
Inclusive quarkonium production in pp collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 5.02$ TeVThis article reports on the inclusive production cross section of several quarkonium states, $\mathrm{J}/\psi$, $\psi {\rm (2S)}$, $\Upsilon\rm(1S)$, $\Upsilon\rm(2S)$, and $\Upsilon\rm(3S)$, measured with the ALICE detector at the LHC, in \pp collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 5.02$ TeV. The analysis is performed in the dimuon decay channel at forward rapidity ($2.5 < ~ y < ~ 4$). The measured cross sections, assuming unpolarized quarkonia, are: $\sigma_{\mathrm{J}/\psi} = 5.88 \pm 0.03 \pm 0.34\ \mu$b, $\sigma_{\psi {\rm (2S)}} = 0.87 \pm 0.06 \pm 0.10\ \mu$b, $\sigma_{\Upsilon\rm(1S)} = 45.5 \pm 3.9 \pm 3.5$ nb, $\sigma_{\Upsilon\rm(2S)} = 22.4 \pm 3.2 \pm 2.7$ nb, and $\sigma_{\Upsilon\rm(3S)} = 4.9 \pm 2.2 \pm 1.0$ nb, where the first (second) uncertainty is the statistical (systematic) one. The transverse-momentum ($p_{\rm T}$) and rapidity ($y$) differential cross sections for $\mathrm{J}/\psi$, $\psi {\rm (2S)}$, $\Upsilon\rm(1S)$, and the $\psi {\rm (2S)}$-to-$\mathrm{J}/\psi$ cross section ratios are presented. For the first time, the cross sections of the three $\Upsilon$ states, as well as the $\psi {\rm (2S)}$ one as a function of $p_{\rm T}$ and $y$, are measured at $\sqrt{s} = 5.02$ TeV at forward rapidity. These measurements also significantly extend the $\mathrm{J}/\psi$ $p_{\rm T}$ reach with respect to previously published results. A comparison with ALICE measurements in pp collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 2.76$, 7, 8, and 13 TeV is presented and the energy dependence of quarkonium production cross sections is discussed. Finally, the results are compared with the predictions from several production models.
Production of light (anti)nuclei in pp collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 13$TeVUnderstanding the production mechanism of light (anti)nuclei is one of the key challenges of nuclear physics and has important consequences for astrophysics, since it provides an input for indirect dark-matter searches in space. In this paper, the latest results about the production of light (anti)nuclei in pp collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 13$ TeV are presented, focusing on the comparison with the predictions of coalescence and thermal models. For the first time, the coalescence parameters $B_2$ for deuterons and $B_3$ for helions are compared with parameter-free theoretical predictions that are directly constrained by the femtoscopic measurement of the source radius in the same event class. A fair description of the data with a Gaussian wave function is observed for both deuteron and helion, supporting the coalescence mechanism for the production of light (anti)nuclei in pp collisions. This method paves the way for future investigations of the internal structure of more complex nuclear clusters, including the hypertriton.
Prompt and non-prompt J/$ψ$ production cross sections at midrapidity in proton-proton collisions at $\sqrt{s}$ = 5.02 and 13 TeVThe production of J/$\psi$ is measured at midrapidity ($|y| < ~0.9$) in proton-proton collisions at $\sqrt{s}$ = 5.02 and 13 TeV, through the dielectron decay channel, using the ALICE detector at the Large Hadron Collider. The data sets used for the analyses correspond to integrated luminosities of $\mathcal{L}_{\rm int}$ = 19.4 $\pm$ 0.4 nb$^{-1}$ and $\mathcal{L}_{\rm int}$ = 32.2 $\pm$ 0.5 nb$^{-1}$ at $\sqrt{s}$ = 5.02 and 13 TeV, respectively. The fraction of non-prompt J/$\psi$ mesons, i.e. those originating from the decay of beauty hadrons, is measured down to a transverse momentum $p_{\rm T}$ = 2 GeV/$c$ (1 GeV/$c$) at $\sqrt{s}$ = 5.02 TeV (13 TeV). The $p_{\rm T}$ and rapidity ($y$) differential cross sections, as well as the corresponding values integrated over $p_{\rm T}$ and $y$, are carried out separately for prompt and non-prompt J/$\psi$ mesons. The results are compared with measurements from other experiments and theoretical calculations based on quantum chromodynamics (QCD). The shape of the $p_{\rm T}$ and $y$ distributions of beauty quarks predicted by state-of-the-art perturbative QCD models are used to extrapolate the $\rm b\overline{b}$ pair cross section at midrapidity and in the total phase space. The total $\rm b\overline{b}$ cross sections are found to be $\sigma_{\rm b \overline{\rm b}} = 502 \pm 16 (\rm stat.) \pm 51 (\rm syst.)_{-3}^{+2} (extr.)~{\rm \mu b}$ and $\sigma_{\rm b \overline{\rm b}} = 218 \pm 37 (\rm stat.) \pm 32 (\rm syst.)_{-9.1}^{+8.2} (\rm extr.) {\rm \mu b}$ at $\sqrt{s}$ = 13 and 5.02 TeV, respectively. The value at $\sqrt{s}$ = 13 TeV is obtained from the combination of ALICE and LHCb measurements.
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Diversity and Inclusivity in ALICE

The ALICE Collaboration embraces and values the diversity of its team members and colleagues. We are committed to fostering an inclusive environment for all people regardless of their nationality/culture, profession, age/generation, family situation and gender, as well as individual differences such as but not limited to ethnic origin, sexual orientation, belief, disability, or opinions provided that they are consistent with the Organization’s values.


News of cards

The Fast Interaction Trigger is the final piece of the puzzle of ALICE’s LS2 sub-detector installations.

The two barrels of the largest pixel detector ever built have been successfully lowered into the cavern and stand ready for commissioning.

The new ITS Outer Barrel was installed in March 2021.

The new Muon Forward Tracker, one of ALICE’s main sub-detectors, was installed in the cavern in December 2020.

The upgraded ALICE Miniframe was reinstalled in the experimental cavern in November