Regular Article - Experimental Physics
Predicted measurements of the tensor-to-scalar transition in the CLAS12 nuclear targets experiment
Physics Department, The George Washington University, 725 21st Street NW, 20052, Washington, DC, USA
Accepted: 23 August 2023
Published online: 11 September 2023
Short-range correlated (SRC) nucleon pairs, which are strongly interacting nucleons at short inter-particle distances, can reveal properties of the effective nucleon–nucleon (NN) interaction at short distance scales. The relative abundance of proton-proton (pp) pairs and proton-neutron (pn) pairs, for example, is sensitive to the tensor contribution to the NN interaction. Generalized Contact Formalism (GCF) theory, when used with realistic phenomenological NN potential models, predicts a transition from a tensor-dominated regime—at relative momenta of approximately 400 MeV/c where pp pairs are suppressed relative to pn pairs—to a scalar-dominated regime at higher momenta with no preferred isospin projection. While an increase in the prevalence of pp pairs with increasing momentum has been observed in a few experiments, difficulties associated with neutron detection have so far hindered the observation of a corresponding reduction in the abundance of pn pairs. High-precision measurements showing a simultaneous increase in the abundance of pp pairs and change in the abundance of pn pairs with increasing momentum would conclusively demonstrate the existence of the tensor-to-scalar transition. In this work, we study the potential impact of the recently conducted Nuclear Targets Experiment at the CLAS12 detector at Jefferson Lab, using GCF simulations. We model the expected yields and relevant observables for a carbon target with a beam energy of 6 GeV and show that sufficient statistical precision can be obtained from the experimental data, both for pp and pn pairs, to observe the tensor-to-scalar transition.
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