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Physics  2009 

On the smallest screening masses in hot QCD

DOI: 10.1088/1126-6708/2009/09/023

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The increasing focus on unquenched lattice simulations has revived interest also in gluonic screening masses, whose inverses characterise the longest length scales at which thermal fluctuations are correlated in a hot non-Abelian plasma. We fill an apparent gap in the literature concerning the theoretical structure of one of the relevant screening masses (the one which equals twice the Debye mass at leading order), by showing that the next-to-leading order correction to it is perturbative and small. This surprising result appears to explain semi-quantitatively why this particular channel yields the smallest gluonic screening mass at temperatures around a few hundred MeV (it couples to the energy density and to the real part of the Polyakov loop), even though it is not among the smallest screening masses at asymptotically high temperatures.


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