Physical Review C 77,6 (2008) 061902R;
We present the first spin alignment measurements for the K*(0)(892) and phi(1020) vector mesons produced at midrapidity with transverse momenta up to 5 GeV/c at root s(NN) = 200 GeV at RHIC. The diagonal spin-density matrix elements with respect to the reaction plane in Au+Au collisions are rho(00) = 0.32 +/- 0.04 (stat) +/- 0.09 (syst) for the K*(0) (0.8 < p(T) < 5.0 GeV/c) and rho(00) = 0.34 +/- 0.02 (stat) +/- 0.03 (syst) for the phi (0.4 < p(T) < 5.0 GeV/c) and are constant with transverse momentum and collision centrality. The data are consistent with the unpolarized expectation of 1/3 and thus no evidence is found for the transfer of the orbital angular momentum of the colliding system to the vector-meson spins. Spin alignments for K-*0 and phi in Au+Au collisions were also measured with respect to the particle's production plane. The phi result, rho(00) = 0.41 +/- 0.02 (stat) +/- 0.04 (syst), is consistent with that in p+p collisions, rho(00) = 0.39 +/- 0.03 (stat) +/- 0.06 (syst), also measured in this work. The measurements thus constrain the possible size of polarization phenomena in the production dynamics of vector mesons.
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