Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Rene Bellwied

Abstract

At the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider a hot and dense matter is produced in Au+Au collisions at sqrt(sNN) = 200 GeV/c. This matter exhibits features of a new deconfined partonic matter, called the Quark-Gluon Plasma. Charm quarks are expected to be produced predominately from the initial gluon fusion in parton-parton hard scatterings. This indicates that the production of the charm occurs at the early stages of the collision. At this time the system is thought to be partonic, making the charm a powerful probe of the initial conditions. Non-photonic electron measurements in p+p, d+Au, and Au+Au provide some insight of the heavy favor spectrum. However, because of incomplete kinematics, there is an uncertainty in the relative fraction of charm and bottom. A direct measurement of charm through hadronic channels could resolve this.

In this thesis, we present preliminary results from actual neutral and charged D-meson measurements in minimum bias Au+Au collisions at sqrt(sNN) = 200 GeV at STAR using existing silicon detectors (SVT and SSD). The measurements are performed using a secondary vertexing technique that exploits the resolution given by the silicon detectors available in STAR. We will study D-meson yields, significances, and discuss the possible physics implications.

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