Strongly interacting matter undergoes a crossover phase transition at high temperatures T∼1012 K and zero net-baryon density. A fundamental question in the theory of strong interactions, QCD, is whether a hot and dense system of quarks and gluons displays critical phenomena when doped with more quarks than antiquarks, where net-baryon number fluctuations diverge. Recent lattice QCD work indicates that such a critical point can only occur in the baryon dense regime of the theory, which defies a description from first principles calculations. Here we use the holographic gauge/gravity correspondence to map the fluctuations of baryon charge in the dense quark-gluon liquid onto a numerically tractable gravitational problem involving the charge fluctuations of holographic black holes. This approach quantitatively reproduces ab initio results for the lowest order moments of the baryon fluctuations and makes predictions for the higher-order baryon susceptibilities and also for the location of the critical point, which is found to be within the reach of heavy-ion collision experiments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)