Date of Award

12-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Physics

Major Professor

Soren P. Sorensen

Committee Members

Kenneth F. Read, Ted Barnes, Lawrence W. Townsend, Vince Cianciolo

Abstract

The PHENIX experiment, located at the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Rela- tivistic Heavy Ion Collider, is designed to study high energy proton+proton and nu- cleus+nucleus collisions in order to characterize hot and dense nuclear matter. This dissertation presents the first analysis of single muon production in √sN N = 200 GeV Au+Au reactions. Implications of the forward rapidity measurements for charm pro- duction are discussed. Motivation for charm production measurements and the role of open charm in characterizing the medium created in relativistic heavy ion collisions are presented, and the importance of measurements at forward rapidity is established. The results of this study are compared to relevant calculations and related measurements at RHIC. The number of muons produced from charm decays is found to scale with the number of binary collisions within large experimental errors over the studied kinematic region.

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