Statistical moments of the multiplicity distributions of identified particles in Au+Au collisions
Llope, William J.
Doctor of Philosophy
In part to search for a possible critical point (CP) in the phase diagram of hot nuclear matter, a beam energy scan was performed at the Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC (STAR) collected Au+Au data sets at beam energies, √sNN , of 7.7, 11.5, 19.6, 27, 39, 62.4, and 200 GeV. Such a scan produces hot nuclear matter at different locations in the phase diagram. Lattice and phenomenological calculations suggest that the presence of a CP might result in divergences of the thermodynamic susceptibilities and correlation lengths. The statistical moments of the identified-particle multiplicity distributions directly depend on both the thermodynamic susceptibilities and correlation lengths, possibly making the shapes of these multiplicity distributions sensitive tools for the search for the critical point. The statistical moments of the multiplicity distributions of a number of different groups of identified particle species were analyzed. Care was taken to remove a number of experimental artifacts that can modify the shapes of the multiplicity distributions. The observables studied include the lowest four statistical moments (mean, variance, skewness, kurtosis) and some products of these moments. These observables were compared to the predictions from several approaches lacking critical behavior, such as the Hadron Resonance Gas model, mixed events, (negative) binomial, and Poisson statistics. In addition, the data were analyzed after gating on the event-by-event antiproton-to-proton ratio, which is expected to more tightly constrain the event trajectories on the phase diagram.