Azimuthal Anisotropy of pi(0) Production in Au plus Au Collisions at root s(NN)=200 GeV: Path-Length Dependence of Jet Quenching and the Role of Initial Geometry
We have measured the azimuthal anisotropy of pi(0) production for 1 < p(T) < 18 GeV/c for Au + Au collisions at root s(NN) = 200 GeV. The observed anisotropy shows a gradual decrease for 3 less than or similar to p(T) less than or similar to 7-10 GeV/c, but remains positive beyond 10 GeV/c. The magnitude of this anisotropy is underpredicted, up to at least similar to 10 GeV/c, by current perturbative QCD (PQCD) energy-loss model calculations. An estimate of the increase in anisotropy expected from initial-geometry modification due to gluon saturation effects and fluctuations is insufficient to account for this discrepancy. Calculations that implement a path-length dependence steeper than what is implied by current PQCD energy-loss models show reasonable agreement with the data.