Measurements of Proton High-Order Cumulants in sNN =3 GeV Au+Au Collisions and Implications for the QCD Critical Point

(STAR Collaboration)

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Abstract

We report cumulants of the proton multiplicity distribution from dedicated fixed-target Au+Au collisions at sNN=3.0 GeV, measured by the STAR experiment in the kinematic acceptance of rapidity (y) and transverse momentum (pT) within -0.5<y<0 and 0.4<pT<2.0 GeV/c. In the most central 0%-5% collisions, a proton cumulant ratio is measured to be C4/C2=-0.85±0.09 (stat)±0.82 (syst), which is 2σ below the Poisson baseline with respect to both the statistical and systematic uncertainties. The hadronic transport UrQMD model reproduces our C4/C2 in the measured acceptance. Compared to higher energy results and the transport model calculations, the suppression in C4/C2 is consistent with fluctuations driven by baryon number conservation and indicates an energy regime dominated by hadronic interactions. These data imply that the QCD critical region, if created in heavy-ion collisions, could only exist at energies higher than 3 GeV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number202303
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume128
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - May 20 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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