The ALICE experiment is one of the experiments currently prepared for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Geneva, starting operation end of 2007. ALICE is dedicated to the research on nucleus-nucleus collisions at ultra-relativistic energies, which addresses the properties of strongly interacting matter under varying conditions of high density and temperature.
The conditions provided at the LHC allow significant qualitative improvement with respect to previous studies. In particular, energetic probes, light quarks and gluons, will be abundantly produced. These probes might be identified by their fragmentation into correlated particles, so called jets, of high enough energy to allow full reconstruction of jet properties; even in the underlying heavy-ion environment.
Understanding the dependence of high-energy jet production and fragmentation influenced by the dense medium created in the collision region is an open field of active research. Generally, one expects energy loss of the probes due to medium-induced gluon radiation. It is suggested that hadronization products of these, rather soft gluons may be contained within the jet emission cone, resulting in a modification of the characteristic jet fragmentation, as observed via longitudinal and transverse momentum distributions with respect to the direction of the initial parton, as well as of the multiplicity distributions arising from the jet fragmentation. Particle momenta parallel to the jet axis are softened (jet quenching), while transverse to it increased (transverse heating).
The present thesis studies the capabilities of the ALICE detectors to measure these jets and quantifies obtainable rates and the quality of jet reconstruction, in both proton-proton and lead-lead collisions at the LHC. In particular, it is addressed whether modification of the jet fragmentation can be detected within the high-particle-multiplicity environment of central lead-lead collisions.