Seeing phi mesons through dileptons
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Dilepton spectra from the decay of phi mesons produced in heavy-ion collisions at SIS/GSI energies ( 2 GeV/nucleon) are studied in the relativistic transport model. We include phi mesons produced from baryon-baryon, pion-baryon, and kaon-antikaon collisions. The cross sections for the first two processes are obtained from a one-boson-exchange model, while that for the last process is taken to be of the Breit-Wigner form through the phi meson resonance. For dileptons with invariant mass near the phi meson peak we also include contributions from neutron-proton bremsstrahlung, pion-pion annihilation, and the decay of rho and omega mesons produced in baryon-baryon and meson-baryon collisions. Effects due to medium modifications of the kaon and vector (rho, omega and phi) meson properties are investigated. We find that the kaon medium effects lead to a broadening of the dilepton spectrum as a result of the increase of the phi meson decay width. Furthermore, the dropping of the phi meson mass in nuclear medium leads to a shoulder structure in the dilepton spectrum besides the main peak at the bare phi meson mass. The experimental measurement of the dilepton spectra from heavy-ion collisions is expected to provide useful information about the phi meson properties in dense matter. 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.