Collective Hadronization and Air Showers: Can LHC Data Solve the Muon Puzzle ?
2019 July 22
The deficit of muons in the simulation of extensive air showers is a long standing problem and the origin of large uncertainties in the reconstruction of the mass of the high energy primary cosmic rays. Hadronic interaction models re-tuned after early LHC data have a more consistent description of the muon content among them but still disagree with data. Collective hadronization due to the formation of a quark gluon plasma (QGP) has already been studied as a possible reason for a larger production of muons under extreme conditions (rare, very central nuclear interactions), but without real success. Because of its different ratio of electromagnetic to hadronic energy, a QGP may have the properties to solve the muon puzzle in particular in the view of the most recent LHC data. It is demonstrated using a theoretical approach and tested in a realistic way by the modification of the EPOS model to produce a QGP also in not so extreme conditions with a possible large impact on air shower physics.