Scientists Just Looked Inside a ‘Quantum Matter Fireball’

HADES, or the High Acceptance DiElectron Spectrometer, is an internationally collaborative piece of equipment located in Germany. HADES is used by scientists all over the world to study matter as it might exist in some of the most intense events in the cosmos, like the merging of neutron stars.

And it’s getting hot enough in HADES to create and analyze a fireball of quantum matter


So the HADES team decided to pursue some answers with a physical experiment. And by physical experiment we mean the team smashed gold atoms into a gold target at nearly the speed of light, creating a fireball of quark matter.

After its initial creation, the quantum fireball starts to shed particles called rho mesons, which are made of a quark and an antiquark. These rho mesons decay into ‘virtual’ photons, which then further decay into electron-positron pairs.

HADES measured the electron-positron pairs that were left at the end of the experiment and researchers gained a brand new understanding into the behavior of the quark matter fireball itself. The measurements indicated that the quark matter fireball could reach really, really hot temperatures, like 800 billion degrees celsius level hot.