A very important question in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions is that of thermalization of the high energy density quark gluon plasma forud in the central rapidity region. Different approaches have been adopted by various authors to study this thermalization problem. These include phenomenological string and capacitor plate models, perturbative QCD based parton cascade models and the classical non-perturbative approach. In this paper we briefly review the earlier studies and discuss our work which emphasizes the role of non-perturbative collective effects (classical chaos) in the thermalization of the plasma. In particular, using classical equations of motion of a coloured parton in self-consistent colour fields, we have carried out a 1+1 dimensional simulation of coloured partonic matter. We find that in certain parameter domains, the system exhibits chaotic behaviour in non-abelian plasma oscillations, which then leads to thermalization of the plasma.
Volume 97, 2023
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