The beam energy scan (BES) program at the BNL Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) was extended to energies below sNN=7.7 GeV in 2015 by successful implementation of the fixed-target mode of operation in the STAR (Solenoidal Tracker At RHIC) experiment. In this mode, ions circulate in one ring of the collider and interact with a stationary target at the entrance of the STAR time projection chamber. The first results for Au+Au collisions at sNN=4.5 GeV are presented, demonstrating good performance of all the relevant detector subsystems in fixed-target mode. Results presented here include directed and elliptic flow of identified hadrons, and radii from pion femtoscopy. The latter, together with recent HADES results, reveal a long-sought peak structure that may be caused by the system evolving through a first-order phase transition from quark-gluon plasma to the hadronic phase. Directed and elliptic flow for pions are presented for the first time at this beam energy. Pion and proton elliptic flow show behavior which hints at constituent quark scaling, and demonstrate that a definitive conclusion will be achievable using the full statistics of the ongoing second phase of BES (BES-II). In particular, BES-II to date has recorded fixed-target data sets with two orders of magnitude more events at each of nine energies between sNN=3.0 and 7.7 GeV.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics