Direct observation of the dead-cone effect in quantum chromodynamics

ALICE Collaboration

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8 Citations (Scopus)


In particle collider experiments, elementary particle interactions with large momentum transfer produce quarks and gluons (known as partons) whose evolution is governed by the strong force, as described by the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD)1. These partons subsequently emit further partons in a process that can be described as a parton shower2, which culminates in the formation of detectable hadrons. Studying the pattern of the parton shower is one of the key experimental tools for testing QCD. This pattern is expected to depend on the mass of the initiating parton, through a phenomenon known as the dead-cone effect, which predicts a suppression of the gluon spectrum emitted by a heavy quark of mass mQ and energy E, within a cone of angular size mQ/E around the emitter3. Previously, a direct observation of the dead-cone effect in QCD had not been possible, owing to the challenge of reconstructing the cascading quarks and gluons from the experimentally accessible hadrons. We report the direct observation of the QCD dead cone by using new iterative declustering techniques4,5 to reconstruct the parton shower of charm quarks. This result confirms a fundamental feature of QCD. Furthermore, the measurement of a dead-cone angle constitutes a direct experimental observation of the non-zero mass of the charm quark, which is a fundamental constant in the standard model of particle physics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-446
Number of pages7
Issue number7910
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 19

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The ALICE Collaboration is grateful to U. Wiedemann for his valuable suggestions and fruitful discussions. We are also grateful to D. Napoletano for providing the SHERPA configuration files and useful discussions. The ALICE Collaboration would like to thank all its engineers and technicians for their invaluable contributions to the construction of the experiment and the CERN accelerator teams for the outstanding performance of the LHC complex. The ALICE Collaboration gratefully acknowledges the resources and support provided by all Grid centres and the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG) collaboration. The ALICE Collaboration acknowledges the following funding agencies for their support in building and running the ALICE detector: A. I. Alikhanyan National Science Laboratory (Yerevan Physics Institute) Foundation (ANSL), State Committee of Science and World Federation of Scientists (WFS), Armenia; Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austrian Science Fund (FWF) (M 2467-N36) and Nationalstiftung für Forschung, Technologie und Entwicklung, Austria; Ministry of Communications and High Technologies, National Nuclear Research Center, Azerbaijan; Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos (Finep), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil; Ministry of Education of China (MOEC), Ministry of Science & Technology of China (MSTC) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), China; Ministry of Science and Education and Croatian Science Foundation, Croatia; Centro de Aplicaciones Tecnológicas y Desarrollo Nuclear (CEADEN), Cubaenergía, Cuba; Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic; The Danish Council for Independent Research | Natural Sciences, the VILLUM FONDEN and Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF), Denmark; Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP), Finland; Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA), Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3) and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France; Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) and GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH, Germany; General Secretariat for Research and Technology, Ministry of Education, Research and Religions, Greece; National Research, Development and Innovation Office, Hungary; Department of Atomic Energy Government of India (DAE), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (DST), University Grants Commission, Government of India (UGC) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India; Indonesian Institute of Science, Indonesia; Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Italy; Institute for Innovative Science and Technology, Nagasaki Institute of Applied Science (IIST), Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI, Japan; Consejo Nacional de Ciencia (CONACYT) y Tecnología, through Fondo de Cooperación Internacional en Ciencia y Tecnología (FONCICYT) and Dirección General de Asuntos del Personal Academico (DGAPA), Mexico; Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), the Netherlands; The Research Council of Norway, Norway; Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), Pakistan; Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Peru; Ministry of Education and Science, National Science Centre and WUT ID-UB, Poland; Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information and National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), Republic of Korea; Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, Institute of Atomic Physics and Ministry of Research and Innovation and Institute of Atomic Physics, Romania; Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, National Research Centre Kurchatov Institute, Russian Science Foundation and Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Russia; Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, Slovakia; National Research Foundation of South Africa, South Africa; Swedish Research Council (VR) and Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW), Sweden; European Organization for Nuclear Research, Switzerland; Suranaree University of Technology (SUT), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSDTA) and Office of the Higher Education Commission under NRU project of Thailand, Thailand; Turkish Energy, Nuclear and Mineral Research Agency (TENMAK), Turkey; National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine; Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), United Kingdom; National Science Foundation of the United States of America (NSF) and United States Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Physics (DOE NP), United States of America.

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© 2022, The Author(s).

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