Direct Jet Reconstruction in Proton-Proton and Copper-Copper Collisions at √sNN = 200 GeV

Yue Shi Lai

Direct Jet Reconstruction in Proton-Proton and Copper-Copper Collisions at √sNN = 200 GeV
Lai, Yue Shi
Thesis Advisor(s):
Cole, Brian A.
Permanent URL:
Ph.D., Columbia University.
Collision of heavy nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) recreates the state of high temperature quark-gluon plasma that existed shortly after the Big Bang. Measurement using single particle spectra and two-particle correlation shows that this medium is largely opaque to the transit of a high energy quark or gluon. Reconstructing the kinematics of these quarks and gluons can provide additional constraints for the property of their interaction with the medium. While the direct reconstruction of quantum chromodynamics jets, the final state showers of quarks and gluons, has become an indispensable tool at hadron and electron accelerator experiments, the application of this technique to heavy ion collisions at the RHIC energy has been considered a hard problem. The relatively low yield of high transverse momentum jets would have to be detected within a large, fluctuating background that can give rise to a false jet signal. At the RHIC PHENIX experiment, jet reconstruction also has to cope with the limited aperture of the central arm spectrometers. To overcome both problems, which can distort the jet signal in the traditional reconstruction algorithms, this thesis develops an algorithm that reconstructs the jets as maxima of the Gaussian filtered event transverse momentum distribution. The Gaussian angular weighting causes the algorithm to become more sensitive to the jet core versus the jet periphery. It is then combined with a fake jet rejection discriminant to remove the background fluctuation from the jet signal. This algorithm is used to obtain the first jet measurement in heavy ion environment at PHENIX, using data from the 2004/2005 RHIC run. The result includes the proton-proton inclusive jet spectrum, the proton-proton fragmentation function, the copper-copper jet nuclear modification factor, the copper-copper jet central-to-peripheral modification factor, and the copper-copper dijet azimuthal correlation. The measured copper-copper jet nuclear modification factor shows that there is a significant initial state effect to the jet suppression. The observation of no broadening in the copper-copper dijet azimuthal correlation indicates that the traditional energy loss picture via multiple soft scattering may not be applicable to the quark-gluon plasma.
Nuclear physics
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