Ultra-relativistic heavy ion collisions
The ALICE Collaboration has built a dedicated heavy-ion detector to exploit the unique physics potential of nucleus-nucleus interactions
at LHC energies. Our aim is to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities, where the formation of a
new phase of matter, the quark-gluon plasma, is expected. The existence of such a phase and its properties are key issues in QCD for
the understanding of confinement and of chiral-symmetry restoration. For this purpose, we are carrying out a comprehensive study of the
hadrons, electrons, muons and photons produced in the collision of heavy nuclei. Alice is also studying proton-proton
collisions both as a comparison with lead-lead collisions and in physics areas where Alice is competitive with other LHC experiments.