Momentum spectra of charged pions over nearly full rapidity coverage from target to beam rapidity have been measured in the 0-5% most central Au+Au collisions in the beam energy range from 2 to 8 AGeV by the E895 Experiment. Using a thermal parameterization to fit the transverse mass spectra, rapidity density distributions are extracted. The observed spectra are compared with predictions from the RQMD v2.3 cascade model and also to a thermal model including longitudinal flow. The total 4$\pi$ yields of the charged pions are used to infer an initial state entropy produced in the collisions.
The production of energetic π− at 0° has been measured in Ne+NaF and Ni+Ni collisions with incident energies between 1.3 and 2AGeV. In Ne+NaF collisions the investigation was extended to extreme subthreshold processes with lab momenta up to 4.5 GeV/c. In both systems at all incident energies the π− production cross sections deviate in a systematic way from thermal distributions.
Measurements of charged pion and kaon production in central Pb+Pb collisions at 40, 80 and 158 AGeV are presented. These are compared with data at lower and higher energies as well as with results from p+p interactions. The mean pion multiplicity per wounded nucleon increases approximately linearly with s_NN^1/4 with a change of slope starting in the region 15-40 AGeV. The change from pion suppression with respect to p+p interactions, as observed at low collision energies, to pion enhancement at high energies occurs at about 40 AGeV. A non-monotonic energy dependence of the ratio of K^+ to pi^+ yields is observed, with a maximum close to 40 AGeV and an indication of a nearly constant value at higher energies.The measured dependences may be related to an increase of the entropy production and a decrease of the strangeness to entropy ratio in central Pb+Pb collisions in the low SPS energy range, which is consistent with the hypothesis that a transient state of deconfined matter is created above these energies. Other interpretations of the data are also discussed.
We have measured the ratios of antiparticles to particles for charged pions, kaons and protons near mid-rapidity in central Au+Au collisions at sqrt(s_NN) = 130 GeV. For protons, we observe pbar/p = 0.60 +/- 0.04 (stat.) +/- 0.06 (syst.) in the transverse momentum range 0.15 < p_T < 1.0 GeV/c. This leads to an estimate of the baryo-chemical potential mu_B of 45 MeV, a factor of 5-6 smaller than in central Pb+Pb collisions at sqrt(s_NN) = 17.2 GeV.
Identified pi^[+/-] K^[+/-], p and p-bar transverse momentum spectra at mid-rapidity in sqrt(s_NN)=130 GeV Au-Au collisions were measured by the PHENIX experiment at RHIC as a function of collision centrality. Average transverse momenta increase with the number of participating nucleons in a similar way for all particle species. The multiplicity densities scale faster than the number of participating nucleons. Kaon and nucleon yields per participant increase faster than the pion yields. In central collisions at high transverse momenta (p_T greater than 2 GeV/c), anti-proton and proton yields are comparable to the pion yields.
Results on charged pion and kaon production in central Pb+Pb collisions at 20A and 30A GeV are presented and compared to data at lower and higher energies. A rapid change of the energy dependence is observed around 30A GeV for the yields of pions and kaons as well as for the shape of the transverse mass spectra. The change is compatible with the prediction that the threshold for production of a state of deconfined matter at the early stage of the collisions is located at low SPS energies.