Multiplicity-dependent enhancement of strange and multi-strange hadron production in proton-proton collisions at √s = 7 TeV

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7 TeV
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The production of strange (K0s, Lambda) and multi-strange (Xi, Omega) hadrons is measured at midrapidity in proton-proton collisions at 7 TeV as a function of the event activity. Similar to what was reported in proton-nucleus collisions at the LHC, the production rate of strange particles increases faster than that of non-strange hadrons. The magnitude of the strangeness enhancement depends on the number of strange valence quarks in the hadron. No enhancement is observed for particles with no strange quark content, demonstrating that the observed effect is strangeness rather than mass related. The results cannot be reproduced by any of the Monte Carlo models commonly used at the LHC, suggesting the presence of a novel mechanism for strange particle production.