Critical end points in (2+1)-flavor QCD with imaginary chemical potential
2019 September 19
We present here the results from an ongoing determination of the critical quark mass in simulations of (2+1)-flavor QCD with an imaginary chemical potential. Studies with unimproved actions found the existence of a critical quark mass value at which the crossover transition ends on a second order phase transition and becomes first order for smaller values of the quark mass for the case of both vanishing and imaginary chemical potential. We use the Highly Improved Staggered Quark (HISQ) action and perform calculations in the Roberge-Weiss (RW) plane, where the value of the critical mass is expected to be largest. The lowest quark mass value used in our simulation corresponds to the pion mass $m_\pi$, down to $40$ MeV. Contrary to calculations performed with unimproved actions we find no evidence for the occurrence of first order transitions at the smallest quark mass values explored so far. Moreover we also show that the chiral observables are sensitive to the RW transition. Our results also indicate that the RW transition and chiral transition could coincide in the chiral limit.