We report the beam energy(√8NN = 7.7-200 GeV) and collision centrality dependence of the mean (M), standard deviation (σ), skewness (S), and kurtosis (κ) of the net-proton multiplicity distributions in Au+Au collisions. The measurements are carried out by the STAR experiment at midrapidity (|y|<0.5) and within the transverse momentum range 0.4<ρτ<0.8  GeV/c in the first phase of the Beam Energy Scan program at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. These measurements are important for understanding the quantum chromodynamic phase diagram. The products of the moments, Sσ and κσ2, are sensitive to the correlation length of the hot and dense medium created in the collisions and are related to the ratios of baryon number susceptibilities of corresponding orders. The products of moments are found to have values significantly below the Skellam expectation and close to expectations based on independent proton and antiproton production. The measurements are compared to a transport model calculation to understand the effect of acceptance and baryon number conservation and also to a hadron resonance gas model.

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Published in Physical Review Letters, v. 112, no. 3, article 032302, p. 1-7.

© 2014 American Physical Society

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Please note: Group of authors is known as The Star Collaboration. This record does not contain all credited individual authors of this article.

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We thank the RHIC Operations Group and RCF at BNL, and the NERSC Center at LBNL, the KISTI Center in Korea, and the Open Science Grid consortium for providing resources and support. This work was supported in part by the Offices of NP and HEP within the U.S. DOE Office of Science, the U.S. NSF, CNRS/IN2P3, FAPESP CNPq of Brazil, Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, NNSFC, CAS, MoST, and MoE of China, the Korean Research Foundation, GA and MSMT of the Czech Republic, FIAS of Germany, DAE, DST, and CSIR of the Government of India, National Science Centre of Poland, National Research Foundation (NRF-2012004024), Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, and RosAtom of Russia. Finally, we gratefully acknowledge a sponsored research grant for the 2006 run period from Renaissance Technologies Corporation. BM is supported by DST Swarna Jayanti Fellowship.