Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

W. Vernon Jones


Nuclear emulsions have been exposed to a series of relativistic heavy ion beams at Brookhaven National Laboratory ($\sp{16}$O and $\sp{28}$Si nuclei at 14.6 GeV/nucleon) and CERN ($\sp{16}$O nuclei at 60 and 200 GeV/nucleon and $\sp{32}$S nuclei at 200 GeV/nucleon). These beams represent the highest energies currently available for heavy projectiles. Central collisions between the beam nuclei and the heavy emulsion components $\sp{108}$Ag and $\sp{80}$Br have been compared with proton-emulsion data at equivalent energies. The multiplicities of produced charged particles are generally consistent with a conservative superposition model of nucleus-nucleus interactions. The pseudo-rapidity distributions of produced particles are gaussian in their broad features and do not exhibit the plateau structure associated with collective behavior. The method of scaled factorial moments has been used to examine the fine structure of the pseudo-rapidity distributions. An intermittent power-law growth of the moments with decreasing scales in pseudo-rapidity is observed. However, the strength of this characteristic signature of intermittency declines, for a given energy, as the number of nucleons participating in the central collisions increases. Since this decline is contrary to the expectations associated with collective phenomena, intermittency may be a general characteristic of particle production rather than an ambiguous signature of quark-gluon plasma formation.