Event-by-event fluctuations of the Kaon-to-Pion ratio in central Pb+Pb collisions at 158 GeV per nucleon

Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Mar 5;86(10):1965-9. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.86.1965.


We present the first measurement of fluctuations from event to event in the production of strange particles in collisions of heavy nuclei. The ratio of charged kaons to charged pions is determined for individual central Pb+Pb collisions. After accounting for the fluctuations due to detector resolution and finite number statistics we derive an upper limit on genuine nonstatistical fluctuations, which could be related to a first- or second-order QCD phase transition. Such fluctuations are shown to be very small.