Conserved charge fluctuations with smaller-than-physical quark masses
2020 January 04
We present results from calculations of conserved charge fluctuations in $(2+1)$-flavor QCD using light quark masses in the range $m_s/80 \leq m_l \leq m_s/27$, with the strange quark mass ($m_s$) kept fixed at its physical value. This corresponds to a Goldstone pion mass in the range $80$ MeV $\leq m_\pi \leq 140$ MeV. The measurements have been done using HISQ fermion discretization and Symanzik improved gauge action. We discuss the quark mass dependence of up to 6th order cumulants and present first results on the separation of singular and regular contributions to these cumulants. From these results, we examine the nature of the chiral phase transition and the variation of the curvature of the crossover line as we approach the chiral limit.