Regular Article - Experimental Physics
What do we really know about cold nuclear matter effects?
(for heavy quarkonia)
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 80309-0390, USA
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised: 26 January 2009
Published online: 3 March 2009
The measurement of charmonium suppression in relativistic heavy ion collisions is posited to be an unambiguous probe of the properties of the strongly interacting quark gluon plasma (sQGP). In hot and dense QCD matter Debye color screening prevents charm and anti-charm quark pairs from forming J/ψ mesons if the screening radius is smaller than the binding radius. However, one must have a clear understanding of the expected suppression in normal density QCD matter before interpreting any additional anomalous suppression. The PHENIX experiment has measured J/ψ production from colliding proton + proton and deuteron + gold beams at 200 GeV from the relativistic heavy ion collider (RHIC). The deuteron + gold data can be compared to the proton + proton baseline in order to establish the typical suppression in cold nuclear matter (CNM). For PHENIX, a suppression of J/ψ in cold nuclear matter is observed as one goes forward in rapidity (in the deuteron-going direction), corresponding to a region more sensitive to initial state low-x gluons in the gold nucleus. These results can be convoluted with the nuclear-environment-modified parton distribution functions, extracted from deep inelastic scattering (DIS) and Drell-Yan (DY) data, in order to estimate the J/ψ break up cross section in cold nuclear matter. One can also use a data driven method that does not rely on the assumption of the production mechanism, or PDF parameterization, to extrapolate to the heavy ion collision case. At this time both the predictions for CNM effect suppression in heavy ion collisions are somewhat ambiguous. Future results using the data acquired by the PHENIX experiment in run-6 (p + p) and run-8 (d + Au) will be vital for our understanding. These data, which are in the process of being analyzed, will provide a needed improvement in the statistical and systematic precision of constraints for CNM effects. These constraints must be improved in order to make firm conclusions concerning additional hot nuclear matter charmonium suppression in the sQGP.
PACS: 25.75.-q – / 12.38.Mh – / 13.20.Gd –
© Springer-Verlag , 2009