Experimental results on deuteron emission from central Pb + Pb collisions (
E-beam = 158A GeV, fixed target), obtained by NA49 at the CERN SPS accelera
tor, are presented. The transverse mass in, distribution was measured near
mid-rapidity (2.0 < y < 2.5) in the range of 0 < m(t) - m(0) < 0.9 GeV/c(2)
(0 < p(t) < 2.0 GeV/c) for the 4% most central collisions. An exponential
fit gives an inverse slope T-d = (450 +/- 30) MeV and a yield dN(d)/dy = 0.
34 +/- 0.03. The coalescence factor B-2 (m(t) = m(0))=(3.5 +/- 1.0) . 10(-4
) GeV2 and its m(t)-dependence are deter-mined and discussed in terms of a
model that includes the collective expansion of the source created in a col
lision. The derived Gaussian size parameter R-G Of the emission volume is c
onsistent with earlier HBT results on the source of pion emission. (C) 2000
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