Evidence for top quark production in nucleus-nucleus collisions with the CMS experiment

Jun 1, 2020, 11:00 AM


Oral Presentation Initial State Parallel


Dr Georgios Krintiras (The University of Kansas (US))


Evidence for the production of top quarks in heavy ion collisions is reported in a data sample of lead-lead collisions recorded in 2018 by the CMS experiment at a nucleon-nucleon center-of-mass energy of $\sqrt{\smash[b]{s_{_{\mathrm{NN}}}}} = 5.02$ TeV, corresponding to an integrated luminosity of $1.7\pm0.1\,\text{nb}^{-1}$. Top quark pair ($\mathrm{t\bar{t}}$) production is measured in events with two opposite-sign high-$p_{\mathrm{T}}$ isolated leptons ($\ell^\pm\ell^\mp =\,\mathrm{e}^{+} \mathrm{e}^{-},\,\mu^{+} \mu^{-},\,\text{and}\,\mathrm{e}^{\pm} \mu^{\mp}$). We test the sensitivity to the $\mathrm{t\bar{t}}$ signal process by requiring or not the additional presence of b-tagged jets, and hence the feasilibilty to identify top quark decay products irrespective of interacting with the medium (bottom quarks) or not (leptonically decaying W bosons). To that end, the inclusive cross section ($\sigma_\mathrm{t\bar{t}}$) is derived from likelihood fits to a multivariate discriminator, which includes different leptonic kinematic variables, with and without the b-tagged jet multiplicity information. The observed (expected) significance of the $\mathrm{t\bar{t}}$ signal against the background-only hypothesis is 4.0 (6.0) and 3.8 (4.8) standard deviations, respectively, for the fits with and without the b-jet multiplicity input. After event reconstruction and background subtraction, the extracted cross sections are $\sigma_\mathrm{t\bar{t}} = 2.02 \pm 0.69$ and $2.56\pm 0.82\,\mu\mathrm{b}$, respectively, which are consistent with each other and lower than, but still compatible with, the expectations from scaled proton-proton data as well as from perturbative quantum chromodynamics predictions. This measurement constitutes the first step towards using the top quark as a novel tool for probing strongly interacting matter.

Track Initial State
Contribution type Contributed Talk
Collaboration (if applicable) CMS

Primary author

Serguei Petrushanko (M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (RU))

Presentation materials