Initial angular momentum and flow in high energy nuclear collisions Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 American Physical Society. We study the transfer of angular momentum in high energy nuclear collisions from the colliding nuclei to the region around midrapidity, using the classical approximation of the color glass condensate (CGC) picture. We find that the angular momentum shortly after the collision (up to times 1/Qs, where Qs is the saturation scale) is carried by the "-type" flow of the initial classical gluon field, introduced by some of us earlier. i1 i2-2i1(i=1,2) describes the rapidity-odd transverse energy flow and emerges from Gauss's law for gluon fields. Here 1 and 2 are the averaged color charge fluctuation densities in the two nuclei, respectively. Interestingly, strong coupling calculations using anti-de Sitter/conformal field theory (AdS/CFT) techniques also find an energy flow term featuring this particular combination of nuclear densities. In classical CGC the order of magnitude of the initial angular momentum per rapidity in the reaction plane, at a time 1/Qs, is |dL2/d|RAQs-30/2 at midrapidity, where RA is the nuclear radius, and 0 is the average initial energy density. This result emerges as a cancellation between a vortex of energy flow in the reaction plane aligned with the total angular momentum, and energy shear flow opposed to it. We discuss in detail the process of matching classical Yang-Mills results to fluid dynamics. We will argue that dissipative corrections should not be discarded to ensure that macroscopic conservation laws, e.g., for angular momentum, hold. Viscous fluid dynamics tends to dissipate the shear flow contribution that carries angular momentum in boost-invariant fluid systems. This leads to small residual angular momentum around midrapidity at late times for collisions at high energies.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Fries, R. J., Chen, G., & Somanathan, S.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Fries, Rainer J||Chen, Guangyao||Somanathan, Sidharth

publication date

  • January 2018