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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Measurement of Dielectron Continuum in p + p at sqrt(s) = 200 GeV as a Baseline study for Chiral Symmetry Restoration

  • Author(s): Rolnick, Sky
  • Advisor(s): Seto, Richard
  • et al.

Dielectrons are a very important probe used for studying the properties of hot dense nuclear matter created in heavy ion collisions. Since dielectrons are color neutral and produced during all stages of the collision, they provide access to an abundance of information not readily available from other sources. These include thermal sources, vector meson resonances, heavy charm and bottom decay, and Drell-Yan processes. Previous measurements of the dielectron continuum in PHENIX have indicated an unexpectedly large enhancement in Au+Au collisions in the low mass region (0.3 - 0.8GeV/c^2), a possible signal of chiral symmetry restoration, but these measurements were limited by large systematic uncertainties primarily from a poor signal to background ratio. In 2009 the PHENIX experiment was upgraded with the addition of the Hadron Blind Detector which improves the background rejection by detecting partially reconstructed Dalitz decays and gamma conversion pairs. In this thesis, I will review the status of electromagnetic probes measured from the collision of heavy nuclei and present and compare the results obtained from 2009 data in p + p at 200 GeV using the HBD which will serve as a baseline for Au+Au results obtained in 2010.

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