Proceedings of the
International Summerschool on Correlations and Clustering Phenomena
in Subatomic Physics, Dronten, The Netherlands, August 1996,
"Correlations and Clustering Phenomena in Subatomic Physics"
edited by Harakeh et al. Plenum Press, New York, 1997, page 115.
Preprint: GSI-96-52, November 1996
Multifragmentation is the dominant decay mode of heavy nuclear
systems with excitation energies in the vicinity of their
binding energies. It explores the partition space associated
with the number of nucleonic constituents and it is characterized
by a multiple production of nuclear fragments with intermediate
Reactions at relativistic bombarding energies, exceeding several hundreds of MeV per nucleon, have been found very efficient in creating such highly excited systems. Peripheral collisions of heavy symmetric systems or more central collisions of mass asymmetric systems produce spectator nuclei with properties indicating a high degree of equilibration. The observed decay patterns are well described by statistical multifragmentation models.
The present experimental and theoretical studies are particularly motivated by the fact that multifragmentation is being considered a possible manifestation of the liquid-gas phase transition in finite nuclear systems. From the simultaneous measurement of the temperature and of the energy content of excited spectator systems a caloric curve of nuclei has been obtained. The characteristic S-shaped behavior resembles that of ordinary liquids.
Signatures of critical phenomena in finite nuclear systems are searched for in multifragmentation data. These studies, supported by the success of percolation in reproducing the experimental mass or charge correlations, concentrate on the fluctuations observed in these observables. Attempts have been made to deduce critical-point exponents associated with multifragmentation.
27 pages with 16 embedded figures
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