Production of light (anti)nuclei in pp collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 5.02$ TeV

The ALICE collaboration
Eur.Phys.J.C 82 (2022) 289, 2022.

Abstract (data abstract)
The study of the production of nuclei and antinuclei in pp collisions has proven to be a powerful tool to investigate the formation mechanism of loosely bound states in high-energy hadronic collisions. In this paper, the production of protons, deuterons and $^3$He and their charge conjugates at midrapidity is studied as a function of the charged-particle multiplicity in inelastic pp collisions at $\sqrt{s}=5.02$ TeV using the ALICE detector. Within the uncertainties, the yields of nuclei in pp collisions at $\sqrt{s}=5.02$ TeV are compatible with those in pp collisions at different energies and to those in p--Pb collisions when compared at similar multiplicities. The measurements are compared with the expectations of coalescence and Statistical Hadronisation Models. The results suggest a common formation mechanism behind the production of light nuclei in hadronic interactions and confirm that they do not depend on the collision energy but on the number of produced particles.

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