Relativistic mean field theory with mesons σ, ω, π and ρ mediating interactions and nucleons as basic fermions has been very successful in describing nuclear matter and finite nuclei. However, in heavy-ion collisions, where the c. m. energy of two colliding nucleons will be in the hundreds of GeV region, nucleons are not expected to behave as point-like particles. Analyses of elastic pp and ¯pp scattering data in the relevant c. m. energy range show that the nucleon is a composite object—a topol…

Read moreRelativistic mean field theory with mesons σ, ω, π and ρ mediating interactions and nucleons as basic fermions has been very successful in describing nuclear matter and finite nuclei. However, in heavy-ion collisions, where the c. m. energy of two colliding nucleons will be in the hundreds of GeV region, nucleons are not expected to behave as point-like particles. Analyses of elastic pp and ¯pp scattering data in the relevant c. m. energy range show that the nucleon is a composite object—a topological soliton or Skyrmion embedded in a condensed quark-antiquark ground state. Against this backdrop, we formulate an effective field theory model of nuclear matter based on the gauged linear σ-model where quarks are the basic fermions, but the mesons still mediate the interactions. The model describes the nucleon as a Skyrmion and produces a q¯q ground state analogous to a superconducting ground state. Quarks are quasi-particles in this ground state. When the temperature exceeds a critical value, the scalar field in the ground state vanishes, quarks become massless, and a chiral phase transition occurs leading to chiral symmetry restoration. We explore the possibility of a first order phase transition in this model by introducing suitable self-interactions of the scalar field. Internal structures of the Skyrmions are ignored, and they are treated as point-like fermions