Probing properties of hot and dense QCD matter with heavy flavor in the PHENIX experiment at RHIC
Department of Physics, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, United States
Published online: 29 May 2015
Hadrons carrying heavy quarks, i.e. charm or bottom, are important probes of the hot and dense medium created in relativistic heavy ion collisions. Heavy quarkantiquark pairs are mainly produced in initial hard scattering processes of partons. While some of the produced pairs form bound quarkonia, the vast majority hadronize into particles carrying open heavy flavor. Heavy quark production has been studied by the PHENIX experiment at RHIC via measurements of single leptons from semi-leptonic decays in both the electron channel at mid-rapidity and in the muon channel at forward rapidity. A large suppression and azimuthal anisotropy of single electrons have been observed in Au + Au collisions at 200 GeV. These results suggest a large energy loss and flow of heavy quarks in the hot, dense matter. The PHENIX experiment has also measured J/ψ production at 200 GeV in p + p, d + Au, Cu + Cu and Au + Au collisions, both at mid- and forward-rapidities, and additionally Cu + Au and U + U at forward-rapidities. In the most energetic collisions, more suppression is observed at forward rapidity than at central rapidity. This can be interpreted either as a sign of quark recombination, or as a hint of additional cold nuclear matter effects. The centrality dependence of nuclear modification factor, RAA(pT), for J/ψ in U + U collisions at √sNN = 193 GeV shows a similar trend to the lighter systems, Au + Au and Cu + Cu, at similar energy 200 GeV.
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