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The isotope yields of fragments, produced in the decay of the quasiprojectile in Au+Au peripheral collisions at 35 MeV/nucleon and those coming from the disassembly of the unique source formed in Xe+Cu central reactions at 30 MeV/nucleon, were measured. We show that the relative yields of neutron-rich isotopes increase with the excitation energy in multifragmentation reaction. In the framework of the statistical multifragmentation model which fairly well reproduces the experimental observables, this behaviour can be explained by increasing N/Z ratio of hot primary fragments, that corresponds to the statistical evolution of the decay mechanism with the excitation energy: from a compound-like decay to complete multifragmentation.
A global protocol for the thermostatistical analysis of hot nuclear sources is discussed. Within our method of minimization of variances we show that the abnormal kinetic energy fluctuation signal recently reported in different experimental data (M.D'Agostino et al.-Phys. Lett. B 473 (2000) 219, N. Le Neindre et al.- contr. to the XXXVIII Bormio Winter Meeting on Nucl. Phys. (2001) 404) is a genuine signal of a first order phase transition in a finite system.
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