We report the first measurements of the moments—mean (M), variance (σ2), skewness (S), and kurtosis (κ)—of the net-charge multiplicity distributions at midrapidity in Au+Au collisions at seven energies, ranging from √SNN=7.7 to 200 GeV, as a part of the Beam Energy Scan program at RHIC. The moments are related to the thermodynamic susceptibilities of net charge, and are sensitive to the location of the QCD critical point. We compare the products of the moments, σ2/M, , and κσ2, with the expectations from Poisson and negative binomial distributions (NBDs). The values deviate from the Poisson baseline and are close to the NBD baseline, while the κσ2 values tend to lie between the two. Within the present uncertainties, our data do not show nonmonotonic behavior as a function of collision energy. These measurements provide a valuable tool to extract the freeze-out parameters in heavy-ion collisions by comparing with theoretical models.

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Published in Physical Review Letters, v. 113, no. 9, article 022301, p. 1-7.

©2014 American Physical Society

The copyright holder has granted permission for posting the article here.

This work is a creation of the STAR Collaboration. Due to the large number of authors involved, only the first 10 and the ones affiliated with the University of Kentucky are listed in the author section above. For the complete list of authors, please download this article or visit the following link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.092301

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We thank the RHIC Operations Group and RCF at BNL, 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, the 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 India, the National Science Centre of Poland, National Research Foundation (NRF-2012004024), the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, and RosAtom of Russia.

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