In the hydrodynamic framework of heavy-ion collisions, elliptic flow v2 is sensitive to the quadrupole deformation β of the colliding ions. This enables one to test whether the established knowledge on the low-energy structure of nuclei is consistent with collider data from high-energy experiments. We derive a formula based on generic scaling laws of hydrodynamics to relate the difference in v2 measured between collision systems that are close in size to the value of β of the respective species. We validate our formula in simulations of 238U+238U and 197Au+197Au collisions at top Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) energy, and subsequently apply it to experimental data. Using the deformation of 238U from low-energy experiments, we find that RHIC v2 data implies 0.16|β|0.20 for 197Au nuclei, i.e., significantly more deformed than reported in the literature, posing an interesting issue in nuclear phenomenology.

G. Giacalone, J. Jia, C. Zhang, “Impact of Nuclear Deformation on Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collisions: Assessing Consistency in Nuclear Physics across Energy Scales”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 127, 242301 (2021).


Related to Project C06