STAR focus: Longitudinal double-spin asymmetry for inclusive jet and dijet production in polarized proton collisions at √s= 510 GeV

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) is the world’s only polarized proton collider at high energies. One main goal of the RHIC SPIN program is to provide measurements with these unique data to gain deeper insight into the spin structure and dynamics of the proton.

The STAR experiment has collected several longitudinally polarized proton-proton collision data sets, mainly dedicated to study the polarized gluon distribution function (Δg(x)) of the proton. This function quantifies the contribution of gluons to the total spin of the proton. It can be accessed by measuring the longitudinal double-spin asymmetry (ALL ) of inclusive jet and dijet production in proton-proton collisions.

In the recently published result “Longitudinal double-spin asymmetry for inclusive jet and dijet production in polarized proton collisions at √s= 510 GeV” in Phys. Rev. D 105 092011, we are providing the lastest STAR ALL measurements for inclusive jets at midrapidity. These measurements are in agreement with previous STAR measurements and with predictions from current next-to-leading-order global analyses, as seen in the figure.

Figure: Inclusive jet ALL versus xT , compared to previous STAR results and evaluations from DSSV14 and NNPDFpol1.1 (with its uncertainty) global analyses. The vertical lines are statistical uncertainties. The boxes show the size of the estimated systematic uncertainties. Scale uncertainties from polarization (not shown) are ±6.5%, ±6.6%, ±6.4% and ±6.1% from 2009 to 2015, respectively.

Additionally, this work presents results for dijet production, which provides a better determination of the functional form of the polarized gluon distribution function. With a redesigned and optimized set of triggers, we were able to increase the statistics in the low dijet mass region by approximately an order of magnitude, which is critical to enable a controlled extrapolation of the polarized gluon distribution function in this gluon-rich region. These high precision measurements motivate the natural step forward for an Electron Ion Collider in order to study the gluon-rich region of the proton in even greater detail.

Posted May 23, 2022

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STAR focus: Evidence for Nonlinear Gluon Effects in QCD and their A Dependence at STAR

Extracting the data from previous experiments, gluon density grows rapidly towards small momentum fraction (x) with respect to the nucleon. Under the color glass condensate (CGC) framework, the growth is explained by gluon splitting. The nonlinear QCD effects at small x should tame this growth by gluon recombination. The so called “gluon saturation” is reached at the point when the splitting and recombination are balanced. Understanding the nonlinear behavior of the gluon is one of the most important physics goals for RHIC Cold QCD program and the future electron ion collider (EIC) project.

Back-to-back dihadron azimuthal angle correlation has been proposed to be a sensitive probe to directly access the underlying gluon dynamics involved in hard scatterings. With a high gluon density at the initial state, the product of back-to-back dihadron modulation will be suppressed. It is predicted that the density of gluons per unit transverse area is larger in nuclei than in nucleons and is amplified by a factor of A1/3 for a nucleus with mass number A; thus, nuclei provide a natural environment to study nonlinear gluon evolution.

The STAR Collaboration performed the measurements of back-to-back azimuthal correlations of di-π0s produced at forward pseudorapidities (2.6 < η < 4.0) in p+p, p+Al, and p+Au collisions at a center-of-mass energy of 200 GeV. The results have been recently published in Phys. Rev. Lett. 129, 092501. We observe a clear suppression of the correlated yields of back-to-back π0 pairs in p+Al and p+Au collisions compared to the p+p data. The observed suppression is larger at smaller transverse momentum, which indicates lower x and Q2 . The larger suppression found in p+Au relative to p+Al collisions exhibits a dependence of the saturation scale Q2s on the mass number A. A linear scaling of the suppression with A1/3 is observed with a slope of −0.09±01.


Figure: Relative area of back-to-back di-π0 correlations at forward pseudorapidities (2.6 < η < 4.0) in p+Au and p+Al with respect to p+p collisions for $p_T^{\mathrm{trig}}$=1.5–2 GeV/c and $p_T^{\mathrm{asso}}$=1–1.5 GeV/c. The area is the integral of the back-to-back correlation after pedestal subtraction. The data points are fitted by a linear function, whose slope (P) is found to be −0.09±01.

Posted August 22, 2022

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STAR focus: Measurements of 3ΛH and 4ΛH lifetimes and yields in Au+Au collisions in the high baryon density region

The hyperon-nucleon (Y-N) interaction is an important ingredient in the description of the equation-of-state of high baryon density matter, such as the interior of neutron stars and the hadronic phase of a heavy-ion collision. Hypernuclei, being bound states of hyperons and nucleons, are one of the only means for experimentalists to access to the Y-N interaction. However, hypernuclei meausurements in heavy-ion collisions are scarce, mainly due to the low production rates at high energies. In contrast, at low collision energies, an enhancement in the hypernuclei production yield is expected due to the higher baryon density, although this has not been verified experimentally. The STAR collaboration recently published new measurements in Phys. Rev. Lett. 128, 202301 of the yields of two light hypernuclei (3ΛH and 4ΛH) at $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}$ = 3 GeV, together with measurements of their lifetimes, using the Beam-Energy-Scan-II data taken in 2018.


Figure (a) 3ΛH and (b) 4ΛH yields at mid-rapidity as a function of beam energy in central heavy ion collisions. The symbols represent measurements while the lines represent different theoretical calculations. The data points assume a branching ratio of 25(50)% for 3(4)ΛH → π + 3(4)He. The insets show the yields at |y|<0.5 times the branching ratio as a function of the branching ratio.

Our measurements show that in central heavy-ion collisions, the 3ΛH yield at $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}$ = 3 GeV is enhanced compared to the yield at $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}$ = 2.76 TeV by approximately a factor of 100, in accordance with thermal model and coalescence model predictions. For 4ΛH, the measured yield is underestimated by thermal model calculations. Such observations establish low energy collision experiments as a promising tool to study hypernuclei properties, and also provide guidance on searches for exotic strange matter such as double-Λ hypernuclei or strange dibaryons.

Besides the production yields, the intrinsic properties of hypernuclei, such as their binding energies and lifetimes, provide information on the Y-N interaction. Taking advantage of the high production yields, we extracted the most precise 3ΛH and 4ΛH lifetimes to date. Both lifetimes are shorter compared to the free Λ lifetime by approximately 20%. The 3ΛH lifetime is consistent with theoretical calculations incorporating attractive pion final state interactions, while the 4ΛH lifetime is consistent with estimations based on the emperical isospin rule. Such precise measurements provide means to verify our understanding of the simplest bound Y-N systems.

Posted May 23, 2022

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STAR focus: Measurements of proton high order cumulants in $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}$ = 3 GeV Au+Au collisions and implications for the QCD critical point

With the discovery of the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), physicists are starting to investigate the phase structure of the QCD matter, especially in the high baryon density region. The stark differences between the properties of QGP and lower energy nuclear matter draw interest to the thermodynamic processes, specifically those related to the nature of phase transitions. Experimenters can access the QCD phase diagram, expressed in temperature (T) and baryonic chemical potential (μB), and search for phase boundaries by varying the heavy-ion collision energy. At regions of equal baryon and anti-baryon density, μB = 0, theoretical approaches work well, with lattice QCD calculations predicting a smooth cross-over transition from hadronic matter to a QGP. In addition, Lattice QCD calculations have predicted a positive cumulant ratio of net-proton (proton minus anti-proton) C4/C2 for the formation of QGP matter at μB = 200 MeV [1]. However, at finite μB, the existence and the nature of the phase transition are not well understood.

Recent reports on net-proton fluctuation measurements from RHIC's Beam Energy Scan program (BES-I) have demonstrated the non-monotonic collision energy dependence in the 4TH order net-proton cumulant ratio C4/C2 from the top 5% central Au+Au collisions of the range of 7.7 – 200 GeV [2].


Figure: Collision energy dependence of the ratios of cumulants, C4 /C2 , for proton (squares) and net-proton (red circles) from top 5% Au+Au collisions at RHIC. The points for protons are shifted horizontally for clarity. The new result for proton from the $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}$ = 3 GeV collisions is shown as a filled square. HADES data of 2.4 GeV top 10% collisions is also shown. The vertical black and gray bars are the statistical and systematic uncertainties, respectively. In addition, results from the HRG model, based on both Canonical Ensemble (CE) and Grand-Canonical Ensemble (GCE), and transport model UrQMD are presented.

In this Letter [3], we report cumulants and their ratios of proton multiplicity distribution from $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}$ =3 GeV Au+Au collisions. The new data are measured by the STAR experiment configured in fixed-target mode. At this collision energy, the corresponding baryonic chemical potential μB ~ 750 MeV, close to the largest value ever reached in heavy ion collisions. Protons are measured with the acceptance (-0.5 < y < 0 and 0.4 < pT < 2.0 GeV/c). The rapidity and transverse momentum dependencies of the cumulant ratios C2/C1, C3/C2 , and C4/C2 are discussed. As shown in the figure, a suppression with respect to the Poisson baseline is observed in proton C4/C2 = -0.85 0.09 (stat) 0.82 (syst) in the most central collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}$ = 3 GeV. The hadronic transport model UrQMD reproduces the observed trend in the centrality dependence of the cumulant ratios. This new result is consistent with fluctuations driven by baryon number conservation at the high baryon density region. These data imply that the QCD critical region, if created in heavy-ion collisions, could only exist at energies higher than $\sqrt{s_{\mathrm{NN}}}$ = 3 GeV.

[1] A. Bazavov et al. (HotQCD), Phys. Rev. D96, 074510 (2017) and R. Bellwied et al., Phys.
Rev. D104, 094508 (2021).
[2] (STAR Collaboration), Phys. Rev. Lett. 126 (2021) 92301.
[3] (STAR Collaboration), Phys. Rev. Lett. 128, (2022) 202303.

Posted May 29, 2022

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May 18, 2022
Congratulations to Dr. Yu Hu, who successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis at Fudan University. The title of his thesis was "Search for the Chiral Magnetic Effect in Relativistic Heavy Ion Collision with the STAR Experiment”.

May 12, 2022
Congratulations to Dr. Isaac Mooney. He successfully defended his thesis on “Jet substructure measurements in pp and pAu collisions”.

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