Systematic study of nuclear effects in p+Al, p+Au, d+Au, and He 3 + Au collisions at sNN =200 GeV using π0 production

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The PHENIX Collaboration presents a systematic study of inclusive π0 production from p+p, p+Al, p+Au, d+Au, and He3+Au collisions at sNN=200GeV. Measurements were performed with different centrality selections as well as the total inelastic, 0-100%, selection for all collision systems. For 0-100% collisions, the nuclear-modification factors, RxA, are consistent with unity for pT above 8GeV/c, but exhibit an enhancement in peripheral collisions and a suppression in central collisions. The enhancement and suppression characteristics are similar for all systems for the same centrality class. It is shown that for high-pT-π0 production, the nucleons in the d and He3 interact mostly independently with the Au nucleus and that the counterintuitive centrality dependence is likely due to a physical correlation between multiplicity and the presence of a hard scattering process. These observations disfavor models where parton energy loss has a significant contribution to nuclear modifications in small systems. Nuclear modifications at lower pT resemble the Cronin effect - an increase followed by a peak in central or inelastic collisions and a plateau in peripheral collisions. The peak height has a characteristic ordering by system size as p+Au>d+Au>He3+Au>p+Al. For collisions with Au ions, current calculations based on initial-state cold nuclear matter effects result in the opposite order, suggesting the presence of other contributions to nuclear modifications, in particular at lower pT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number064902
Number of pages19
JournalPhysical Review C
Issue number6
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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