Probing nuclear matter with jet conversions
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We discuss the flavor of leading jet partons as a valuable probe of nuclear matter. We point out that the coupling of jets to nuclear matter naturally leads to an alteration of jet chemistry even at high transverse momentum pT. In particular, quantum chromodynamics (QCD) jets coupling to a chemically equilibrated quark gluon plasma in nuclear collisions will lead to hadron ratios at high transverse momentum pT that can differ significantly from their counterparts in p+p collisions. Flavor measurements could complement energy loss as a way to study interactions of hard QCD jets with nuclear matter. Roughly speaking they probe the inverse mean free path 1/ while energy loss probes the average squared momentum transfer 2/. We present some estimates for the rate of jet conversions in a consistent Fokker-Planck framework and their impact on future high-pT identified hadron measurements at RHIC and LHC. We also suggest some novel observables to test flavor effects. 2008 The American Physical Society.
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