The first measurement of event-by-event antideuteron number fluctuations in high energy heavy-ion collisions is presented. The measurements are carried out at midrapidity ($|\eta| <~ 0.8$) as a function of collision centrality in Pb$-$Pb collisions at $\sqrt{s_{\rm NN}} = 5.02$ TeV using the ALICE detector. A significant negative correlation between the produced antiprotons and antideuterons is observed in all collision centralities. The results are compared with coalescence calculations, which fail to describe the measurement, in particular if a correlated production of protons and neutrons is assumed. Thermal-statistical model calculations describe the data within uncertainties only for correlation volumes that are different with respect to those describing proton yields and a similar measurement of net-proton number fluctuations.

Accepted by: **PRL **

e-Print: arXiv:2204.10166 | PDF | inSPIRE

CERN-EP-2022-040

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