Transport properties of the fluid produced at Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider
Relativistic heavy-ion collisions; quark-gluon plasma; transport properties.
It is by now well known that the relativistic heavy-ion collisions at RHIC, BNL have produced a strongly interacting fluid with remarkable properties, among them the lowest ever observed ratio of the coefficient of shear viscosity to entropy density. Arguments based on ideas from the string theory, in particular the AdS/CFT correspondence, led to the conjecture – now known to be violated – that there is an absolute lower limit 1/4𝜋 on the value of this ratio. Causal viscous hydrodynamics calculations together with the RHIC data have put an upper limit on this ratio, a small multiple of 1/4𝜋, in the relevant temperature regime. Less well-determined is the ratio of the coefficient of bulk viscosity to entropy density. These transport coefficients have also been studied non-perturbatively in the lattice QCD framework, and perturbatively in the limit of high-temperature QCD. Another interesting transport coefficient is the coefficient of diffusion which is also being studied in this context. In this paper some of these recent developments are reviewed and then the opportunities presented by the anticipated LHC data are discussed, for the general nuclear physics audience.