Flow Study in Relativistic Nuclear Collisions by Fourier Expansion of Azimuthal Particle Distributions
We propose a new method to study transverse flow effects in relativistic nuclear collisions by Fourier analysis of the azimuthal distribution on an event-by-event basis in relatively narrow rapidity windows. The distributions of Fourier coefficients provide direct information on the magnitude and type of flow. Directivity and two dimensional sphericity tensor, widely used to analyze flow, emerge naturally in our approach, since they correspond to the distributions of the first and second harmonic coefficients, respectively. The role of finite particle fluctuations and particle correlations is discussed.