ALICE mission

ALICE is 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 completed a significant upgrade of its detectors to further enhance its capabilities and continue its scientific journey at the LHC in Run 3 and 4, until the end of 2032. At the same time,  upgrade plans are being made for ALICE 3, the next-generation experiment for LHC Runs 5 and 6.

Recent highlights


Recent highlights

ALICE, for the first time, has measured the interaction of open-charm mesons (D+ and D*+) with charged pions and kaons for all the charge combinations: Read more
CERN Bulletin and CERN Courier: ALICE is upgrading its Inner Tracking System and adding a forward calorimeter for the next phase of the LHC upgrade. Read more

Latest ALICE Submissions

Charm fragmentation fractions and ${\rm c\overline{c}}$ cross section in p$-$Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}}=5.02$ TeV The total charm-quark production cross section per unit of rapidity $\mathrm{d}\sigma({\rm c\overline{c}})/\mathrm{d}y$, and the fragmentation fractions of charm quarks to different charm-hadron species $f(\mathrm{c}\rightarrow {\rm h_{c}})$, are measured for the first time in p$-$Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_\mathrm{NN}} = 5.02$ TeV at midrapidity ($-0.96 < ~y < ~0.04$ in the centre-of-mass frame) using data collected by ALICE at the CERN LHC. The results are obtained based on all the available measurements of prompt production of ground-state charm-hadron species: $\mathrm{D}^{0}$, $\mathrm{D}^{+}$, $\mathrm{D}_\mathrm{s}^{+}$, and $\mathrm{J/\psi}$ mesons, and $\Lambda_\mathrm{c}^{+}$ and $\Xi_{\rm c}^{0}$ baryons. The resulting cross section is $\mathrm{d}\sigma({\rm c\overline{c}})/\mathrm{d}y =219.6 \pm 6.3\;(\mathrm{stat.}) {\;}_{-11.8}^{+10.5}\;(\mathrm{syst.}) {\;}_{-2.9}^{+7.6}\;(\mathrm{extr.})\pm 5.4\;(\mathrm{BR})\pm 4.6\;(\mathrm{lumi.}) \pm 19.5\;(\text{rapidity shape})+15.0\;(\Omega_{\rm c}^{0})$ mb, which is consistent with a binary scaling of pQCD calculations from pp collisions. The measured fragmentation fractions are compatible with those measured in pp collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 5.02$ and $13$ TeV, showing an increase in the relative production rates of charm baryons with respect to charm mesons in pp and p$-$Pb collisions compared with $\mathrm{e^{+}e^{-}}$ and $\mathrm{e^{-}p}$ collisions. The $p_\mathrm{T}$-integrated nuclear modification factor of charm quarks, $R_\mathrm{pPb}({\rm c\overline{c}})= 0.91 \pm 0.04\;{\rm (stat.)}{}^{+0.08}_{-0.09}\;{\rm (syst.)}{}^{+0.04}_{-0.03}\;{\rm (extr.)}{}\pm 0.03\;{\rm (lumi.)}$, is found to be consistent with unity and with theoretical predictions including nuclear modifications of the parton distribution functions.
Investigating strangeness enhancement in jet and medium via $φ$(1020) production in p$-$Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}}$ = 5.02 TeVThis work aims to differentiate strangeness produced from hard processes (jet-like) and softer processes (underlying event) by measuring the angular correlation between a high-momentum trigger hadron (h) acting as a jet-proxy and a produced strange hadron ($\phi(1020)$ meson). Measuring h$-\phi$ correlations at midrapidity in p$-$Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}}$ = 5.02 TeV as a function of event multiplicity provides insight into the microscopic origin of strangeness enhancement in small collision systems. The jet-like and the underlying-event-like strangeness production are investigated as a function of event multiplicity. They are also compared between a lower and higher momentum region. The evolution of the per-trigger yields within the near-side (aligned with the trigger hadron) and away-side (in the opposite direction of the trigger hadron) jet is studied separately, allowing for the characterization of two distinct jet-like production regimes. Furthermore, the h$-\phi$ correlations within the underlying event give access to a production regime dominated by soft production processes, which can be compared directly to the in-jet production. Comparisons between h$-\phi$ and dihadron correlations show that the observed strangeness enhancement is largely driven by the underlying event, where the $\phi/\mathrm{h}$ ratio is significantly larger than within the jet regions. As multiplicity increases, the fraction of the total $\phi(1020)$ yield coming from jets decreases compared to the underlying event production, leading to high-multiplicity events being dominated by the increased strangeness production from the underlying event.
Investigating strangeness enhancement with multiplicity in pp collisions using angular correlations A study of strange hadron production associated with hard scattering processes and with the underlying event is conducted to investigate the origin of the enhanced production of strange hadrons in small collision systems characterised by large charged-particle multiplicities. For this purpose, the production of the single-strange meson ${\rm K^0_S}$ and the double-strange baryon $\Xi^{\pm}$ is measured, in each event, in the azimuthal direction of the highest-$p_{\rm T}$ particle (``trigger" particle), related to hard scattering processes, and in the direction transverse to it in azimuth, associated with the underlying event, in pp collisions at $\sqrt{s}=5.02$ TeV and $\sqrt{s}=13$ TeV using the ALICE detector at the LHC. The per-trigger yields of ${\rm K^0_S}$ and $\Xi^{\pm}$ are dominated by the transverse-to-leading production (i.e., in the direction transverse to the trigger particle), whose contribution relative to the toward-leading production is observed to increase with the event charged-particle multiplicity. The transverse-to-leading and the toward-leading $\Xi^{\pm}$/${\rm K^0_S}$ yield ratios increase with the multiplicity of charged particles, suggesting that strangeness enhancement with multiplicity is associated with both hard scattering processes and the underlying event. The relative production of $\Xi^{\pm}$ with respect to ${\rm K^0_S}$ is higher in transverse-to-leading processes over the whole multiplicity interval covered by the measurement. The ${\rm K}^{0}_{\rm{S}}$ and $\Xi^{\pm}$ per-trigger yields and yield ratios are compared with predictions of three different phenomenological models, namely PYTHIA 8.2 with the Monash tune, PYTHIA 8.2 with ropes and EPOS LHC. The comparison shows that none of them can quantitatively describe either the transverse-to-leading or the toward-leading yields of ${\rm K}^{0}_{\rm{S}}$ and $\Xi^{\pm}$.
Measurement of the production cross section of prompt $Ξ^0_{\rm c}$ baryons in p$-$Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}~=~5.02$ TeV The transverse momentum ($p_{\rm T}$) differential production cross section of the promptly-produced charm-strange baryon $\Xi_{\rm c}^{0}$ (and its charge conjugate $\overline{\Xi_{\rm c}^{0}}$) is measured at midrapidity via its hadronic decay into ${\rm \pi^{+}}\Xi^{-}$ in p$-$Pb collisions at a centre-of-mass energy per nucleon$-$nucleon collision $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}~=~5.02$ TeV with the ALICE detector at the LHC. The $\Xi_{\rm c}^{0}$ nuclear modification factor ($R_{\rm pPb}$), calculated from the cross sections in pp and p$-$Pb collisions, is presented and compared with the $R_{\rm pPb}$ of $\Lambda_{\rm c}^{+}$ baryons. The ratios between the $p_{\rm T}$-differential production cross section of $\Xi_{\rm c}^{0}$ baryons and those of $\mathrm {D^0}$ mesons and $\Lambda_{\rm c}^{+}$ baryons are also reported and compared with results at forward and backward rapidity from the LHCb Collaboration. The measurements of the production cross section of prompt $\Xi^0_{\rm c}$ baryons are compared with a model based on perturbative QCD calculations of charm-quark production cross sections, which includes only cold nuclear matter effects in p$-$Pb collisions, and underestimates the measurement by a factor of about 50. This discrepancy is reduced when the data is compared with a model in which hadronisation is implemented via quark coalescence. The $p_{\rm T}$-integrated cross section of prompt $\Xi^0_{\rm c}$-baryon production at midrapidity extrapolated down to $p_{\rm T}$ = 0 is also reported. These measurements offer insights and constraints for theoretical calculations of the hadronisation process. Additionally, they provide inputs for the calculation of the charm production cross section in p$-$Pb collisions at midrapidity.
Measurement of the impact-parameter dependent azimuthal anisotropy in coherent $ρ^0$ photoproduction in Pb$-$Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}}$ = 5.02 TeV The first measurement of the impact-parameter dependent angular anisotropy in the decay of coherently photoproduced $\rho^0$ mesons is presented. The $\rho^0$ mesons are reconstructed through their decay into a pion pair. The measured anisotropy corresponds to the amplitude of the $\cos(2\phi)$ modulation, where $\phi$ is the angle between the two vectors formed by the sum and the difference of the transverse momenta of the pions, respectively. The measurement was performed by the ALICE Collaboration at the LHC using data from ultraperipheral Pb$-$Pb collisions at a center-of-mass energy of $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}~=~5.02$ TeV per nucleon pair. Different impact-parameter regions are selected by classifying the events in nuclear-breakup classes. The amplitude of the $\cos(2\phi)$ modulation is found to increase by about one order of magnitude from large to small impact parameters. Theoretical calculations, which describe the measurement, explain the $\cos(2\phi)$ anisotropy as the result of a quantum interference effect at the femtometer scale that arises from the ambiguity as to which of the nuclei is the source of the photon in the interaction.
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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.