Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Keh-fei Liu


QCD at non-zero baryon density is expected to have a critical point where the finite temperature crossover at zero density turns into a first order phase transition. To identify this point, we use the canonical ensemble approach to scan the temperaturedensity plane through lattice QCD simulations with Wilson-type fermions. In order to scan a wide range of the phase diagram, we develop an algorithm, the ”winding number expansion method” (WNEM) to fix the numerical instability problem due to the discrete Fourier transform for calculating the projected determinant. For a given temperature, we measure the chemical potential as a function of the baryon number and look for the signal of a first order phase transition. We carry out simulations using clover fermions with mπ ≈ 800MeV on 63 × 4 lattices. As a benchmark, we run simulations for the four degenerate flavor case where we observe a clear signal of the first order phase transition. In the two flavor case we do not see any signal for temperatures as low as 0.83 Tc. To gauge the discretization errors, we also run a set of simulations using Wilson fermions and compare the results to those from the clover fermion. The three flavor case is close to realistic QCD with two light u and d quarks and one heavier s quark. Any hint of the existence of the first order phase transition and, particularly, its critical end point will be valuable for the planned relativistic heavy-ion experiments to search for such a point. In the three flavor case we found a clear signal for the first order phase transition, the critical point is located at a temperature of 0.93(2) Tc and a baryon chemical potential of 3.25(7) Tc. Since the quark mass in our present simulation is relatively heavy, we would like to repeat it with lighter quark masses and larger volumes.

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