Theses Doctoral

Measurement of the Ratio of the Neutron to Proton Structure Functions, and the Three-Nucleon EMC Effect in Deep Inelastic Electron Scattering Off Tritium and Helium-3 Mirror Nuclei

Liu, Hanjie

The proton and neutron structure functions F2p and F2n, respectively are fundamental to understanding many studies in nuclear physics. They provide important information about quark distributions. For example, the ratio F2n/F2p is one of the best measurements to find the ratio of d quark over u quark distribution inside the proton. While the calculations of structure functions and quark distributions are non-perturbative, they can be determined by the parameterization of experimental data. The understanding of F2n/F2p and d/u as x → 1 has a large influence on global fits and parameterization, and can be used to distinguish the non-perturbative models which give different predictions. However, F2n/F2p measured using deuteron and hydrogen targets has large nuclear uncertainties at large x, because the nuclear effects in the deuteron become significant at large x. The MARATHON experiment, which ran in spring 2018 using the upgraded 11 GeV Jefferson Lab electron beam, employs a novel method. It performed deep inelastic scattering off tritium and helium-3 mirror nuclei to measure F2n/F2p over the range x = 0.17 to x = 0.82. Since tritium and helium-3 are mirror nuclei, theoretical uncertainties largely cancel out in the ratio. The extracted F2n/F2p has much smaller uncertainties compared with previous experiments at large x. The MARATHON experiment also provided results on the EMC effect for tritium and helium-3 nuclei. The results are considered essential for understanding the EMC effect. This thesis describes the MARATHON experiment, and presents results for F2n/F2p, and the EMC effect for tritium and helium-3.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Hughes, Emlyn Willard
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 7, 2020