Global hyperon polarization, P¯H, in Au+Au collisions over a large range of collision energy, sNN, was recently measured and successfully reproduced by hydrodynamic and transport models with intense fluid vorticity of the quark-gluon plasma. While naïve extrapolation of data trends suggests a large P¯H as the collision energy is reduced, the behavior of P¯H at small sNN<7.7 GeV is unknown. Operating the STAR experiment in fixed-target mode, we measured the polarization of Λ hyperons along the direction of global angular momentum in Au+Au collisions at sNN=3 GeV. The observation of substantial polarization of 4.91±0.81(stat.)±0.15(syst.)% in these collisions may require a reexamination of the viscosity of any fluid created in the collision, of the thermalization timescale of rotational modes, and of hadronic mechanisms to produce global polarization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics