Beam Energy Dependence of Triton Production and Yield Ratio (${N}_{t}\ifmmode\times\else\texttimes\fi{}{N}_{p}/{N}_{d}^{2}$) in $\mathrm{Au}+\mathrm{Au}$ Collisions at RHIC

We report the triton (t) production in midrapidity (|y|<0.5) Au+Au collisions at sNN=7.7200GeV measured by the STAR experiment from the first phase of the beam energy scan at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. The nuclear compound yield ratio (Nt×Np/Nd2), which is predicted to be sensitive to the fluctuation of local neutron density, is observed to decrease monotonically with increasing charged-particle multiplicity (dNch/dη) and follows a scaling behavior. The dNch/dη dependence of the yield ratio is compared to calculations from coalescence and thermal models. Enhancements in the yield ratios relative to the coalescence baseline are observed in the 0%-10% most central collisions at 19.6 and 27 GeV, with a significance of 2.3σ and 3.4σ, respectively, giving a combined significance of 4.1σ. The enhancements are not observed in peripheral collisions or model calculations without critical fluctuation, and decreases with a smaller pT acceptance. The physics implications of these results on the QCD phase structure and the production mechanism of light nuclei in heavy-ion collisions are discussed.

  • Received 20 September 2022
  • Revised 21 February 2023
  • Accepted 30 March 2023

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.130.202301

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Nuclear Physics

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