# Molière scattering in quark-gluon plasma: finding point-like scatterers in a liquid

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## Abstract

By finding rare (but not exponentially rare) large-angle deflections of partons within a jet produced in a heavy ion collision, or of such a jet itself, experimentalists can find the weakly coupled short-distance quark and gluon particles (scatterers) within the strongly coupled liquid quark-gluon plasma (QGP) produced in heavy ion collisions. This is the closest one can come to probing QGP via a scattering experiment and hence is the best available path toward learning how a strongly coupled liquid emerges from an asymptotically free gauge theory. The short-distance, particulate, structure of liquid QGP can be revealed in events in which a jet parton resolves, and scatters off, a parton from the droplet of QGP. The probability for picking up significant transverse momentum via a single scattering was calculated previously, but only in the limit of infinite parton energy which means zero angle scattering. Here, we provide a leading order perturbative QCD calculation of the Molière scattering probability for incident partons with finite energy, scattering at a large angle. We set up a thought experiment in which an incident parton with a finite energy scatters off a parton constituent within a “brick” of QGP, which we treat as if it were weakly coupled, as appropriate for scattering with large momentum transfer, and compute the probability for a parton to show up at a nonzero angle with some energy. We include all relevant channels, including those in which the parton that shows up at a large angle was kicked out of the medium as well as the Rutherford-like channel in which what is seen is the scattered incident parton. The results that we obtain will serve as inputs to future jet Monte Carlo calculations and can provide qualitative guidance for how to use future precise, high statistics, suitably differential measurements of jet modification in heavy ion collisions to find the scatterers within the QGP liquid.

## Keywords

Quark-Gluon Plasma Phase Diagram of QCD## Notes

### **Open Access**

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