Phi meson production in relativistic heavy ion collisions
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Within a multiphase transport model we study phi meson production in relativistic heavy ion collisions from both superposition of initial multiple proton-proton interactions and the secondary collisions in the produced hadronic matter. The yield of phi mesons is then reconstructed from their decaying product of either the kaon-antikaon pairs or the dimuon pairs. Since the kaon-antikaon pairs at midrapidity with low transverse momenta are predominantly rescattered or absorbed in the hadronic medium, they cannot be used to reconstruct the phi meson and lead thus to a smaller reconstructed phi meson yield than that reconstructed from the dimuon channel. With in-medium mass modifications of kaons and mesons, the yield from dimuons is further enhanced compared to that from the kaon-antikaon pairs. The model result is compared with the experimental data at the CERN/SPS and RHIC energies and its implications to quark-gluon plasma formation are discussed. 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.