Year of publication
- 2007 (1) (remove)
- Energy and system size dependence of Xi- and anti-Xi+ production in relativistic heavy-ion collisions at the CERN SPS (2007)
- The strong nuclear force is described by Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the parallel field theory to Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) that describes the electromagnetic force. It is propagated by gluons analogously to photons in the electromagnetic force, but unlike photons, which do not carry electric charge, gluons carry color, and they can self-interact. However, as individual quarks have never been observed in nature, it is postulated that the color charge itself is confined, and hence all baryons and mesons must be colorless objects. To study nuclear matter under extreme conditions, it is necessary to create hot and dense nuclear matter in the laboratory. In such conditions the confinement between quarks and gluons is cancelled (deconfinement). This state is characterized with a qusi-free behavior of quarks and gluons. The strange (s) and anti-strange (anti-s) quarks are not contained in the colliding nuclei, but are newly produced and show up in the strange hadrons in the final state. It was suggested that strange particle production is enhanced in the QGP with respect to that in a hadron gas. This enhancement is relative to a collision where a transition to a QGP phase does not take place, such as p+p collisions where the system size is very small. Therefore the energy- and system size dependence is studied to receive a picture about the initial state. In this thesis experimental results on the energy- and system size dependence of Xi hyperon production at the CERN SPS is shown. All measurements were performed with the NA49 detector at the CERN SPS. NA49 took central lead-lead collisions from 20 - 158 AGeV, minimus bias lead-lead collisions at 40 and 158 AGeV, and semi-central silicon-silicon colisions at 158 AGeV. The NA49 experiment features a large acceptance in the forward hemisphere allowing for measurements of Xi rapidity spectra. At the SPS accelerator at CERN Pb+Pb collisions are performed with beam energies to 158 AGeV. The analyzed data sets were taken in the period from 1999 to 2002. The NA49 experiment is a large acceptance hadron spectrometer, which measures charged hadrons in a wide acceptance. The main components are the four TPCs (Time Projection Chamber). The centrality of nucleon-nucleon collisions was done by measuring the not in the collision participating (spectator-) nucleons in the VETO-calorimeter. The study of strangeness is motivated by its role as a signature for the Quark Gluon Plasma. Any enhancement in the yield must be with respect to a ’normal’ yield, where a QGP is not formed. This is usually taken to mean suitably scaled p+p collisions, where the volume of the system created is too small for a QGP to occur. The results at SPS and RHIC energies show an enhancement, with the doubly strange Xi? being enhanced more than the Lambda, in accordance with the original prediction. However, the enhancement at SPS energies is higher than at RHIC energies.