Date of Award

Summer 8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Xiaochun He

Abstract

Lepton pairs resulting from the decay of heavy flavor mesons are an important tool to probe the hot and dense matter created in nucleus-nucleus collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. Due to their large mass, heavy quarks are produced in the earliest stages of the collision and will, therefore, experience the full evolution of the system. The yield of heavy flavor mesons can be measured through their semi-leptonic decay channel by constructing like-sign and unlike-sign lepton pairs. Cross section measurements in p + p collisions provide a test of perturbative quantum chromodynamics (pQCD) theory in addition to a crucial baseline measurement to study the hot and cold nuclear matter effects present in heavy ion collisions.

For the first time, the b¯b cross section in p+p collisions at √s = 500 GeV is measured. The results are based on the yield of high mass, like-sign dimuons measured in the PHENIX muon arm acceptance (1.2 < |y| < 2.2). The extrapolated total cross section is 25.2 ± 3.2 (stat) +11.4 -9.5 µb (sys). The cross section is comparable to pQCD calculation within uncertainties.

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