Properties of Fragmentation Photons in p+p Collisions at 200 GeV Center-of-Mass Energy

Janette Alice Hanks

Properties of Fragmentation Photons in p+p Collisions at 200 GeV Center-of-Mass Energy
Hanks, Janette Alice
Thesis Advisor(s):
Cole, Brian A.
Permanent URL:
Ph.D., Columbia University.
The strong modification to the production of final state hadrons in heavy ion collisions is a key signature of the hot dense medium produced at energies achieved at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). Understanding the mechanisms for the parton energy loss responsible for these modifications is challenging and difficult to constrain with straightforward hadronic measurements, making it necessary to turn to more discriminating probes. One example of such a probe is photons produced by partons as they fragment, fragmentation photons, because the production mechanisms for such photons are similar to those for hadrons, but once produced, fragmentation photons will not interact directly with the medium. The challenge of distinguishing the signal for such jet-associate photons out of the large decay background motivates first making such measurements in the simple p + p environment. Combining data collected by the PHENIX detector during 2005 and 2006, the yield for fragmentation photons was measured to be on the order of several percent of all photons measured in association with a hadron with transverse momentum between 2 and 5 GeV/c. The use of two-particle correlations coupled with a sophisticated method for identifying and removing decay photons has made it possible to further study the jet properties of these fragmentation photons, in the form of pout and root mean square jT. These results will help to constrain both the underlying theoretical description of direct photon production in p + p, and modifications expected in heavy ion collisions.
Nuclear physics
Particle physics
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