Long-range rapidity correlations in heavy-light ion collisions

Yuri V. Kovchegov, Douglas E. Wertepny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


We study two-particle long-range rapidity correlations arising in the early stages of heavy ion collisions in the saturation/Color Glass Condensate framework, assuming for simplicity that one colliding nucleus is much larger than the other. We calculate the two-gluon production cross section while including all-order saturation effects in the heavy nucleus with the lowest-order rescattering in the lighter nucleus. We find four types of correlations in the two-gluon production cross section: (i) geometric correlations, (ii) HBT correlations accompanied by a back-to-back maximum, (iii) away-side correlations, and (iv) near-side azimuthal correlations which are long-range in rapidity. The geometric correlations (i) are due to the fact that nucleons are correlated by simply being confined within the same nucleus and may lead to long-range rapidity correlations for the produced particles without strong azimuthal angle dependence. Somewhat surprisingly, long-range rapidity correlations (iii) and (iv) have exactly the same amplitudes along with azimuthal and rapidity shapes: one centered around δφ. = π with the other one centered around δφ. = 0 (here δ. φ is the azimuthal angle between the two produced gluons). We thus observe that the early-time CGC dynamics in nucleus-nucleus collisions generates azimuthal non-flow correlations which are qualitatively different from jet correlations by being long-range in rapidity. If strong enough, they have the potential of mimicking the elliptic (and higher-order even-harmonic) flow in the di-hadron correlators: one may need to take them into account in the experimental determination of the flow observables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-83
Number of pages34
JournalNuclear Physics A
StatePublished - 5 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Correlations
  • Heavy ion collisions
  • Parton saturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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