Neutron Skin Measurement of 208Pb and 48Ca Using Parity Violating Electron Scattering

Premathilake, Sachinthani Amali, Physics - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Paschke, Kent, Physics, University of Virginia

Parity-violating electron scattering experiments (PVES) provides a clean probe of neutron densities that is model independent and free from strong interaction uncertainties in interpretation. The PREX-2 and CREX experiments were run in 2019 and 2020 at Jefferson laboratory measured the nucleon skin thickness, the difference between the r.m.s. neutron radius Rn and the r.m.s. proton radius Rp, of 208Pb and 48Ca via parity violating electroweak asymmetry in the elastic scattering of longitudinally polarized electrons. PREX-2 experiment was performed with 950 MeV electrons scattered at a 5◦ angle with Q^2 = 0.00616 ± 0.00004 (GeV/c)^2, while CREX used 2182 MeV electrons at the same angle with Q^2 = 0.0297 ± 0.0002 (GeV/c)^2. For PREX-2 the measured asymmetry was AP V = 550 ± 16 (stat.) ± (syst.) ppb, which corresponds to Rskin = 0.278 ± 0.078 (exp.) ± 0.012 (theo.) fm. The CREX asymmetry was AP V = 2668 ± 106 (stat.) ± 40 (syst.) ppb, which corresponds to Rskin = 0.121 ± 0.026 (exp.) ±0.024 (model) fm. One of the crucial systematic uncertainty that PREX-2 and CREX were sensitive to was the non-parity violating asymmetries that resulted from the helicity correlated false asymmetries in the polarized electron beam. There was a lot of work put towards understanding and suppressing the asymmetries arising from these effects. The parity violating asymmetry measurement required a very precise determination of the electron beam polarization. To accurately determine the beam polarization, a Compton polarimeter was used during both PREX-2 and CREX. A careful alignment of the laser to the Fabry-Perot cavity, data analysis and systematic control was employed to get a precise beam polarization result for the experiments. The PREX-2 measurement has broad implications for increasing our knowledge about neutron star structure and the equation of state of nuclear matter. The combined PREX and CREX results will have implications for future energy density functional calculations and the theory of nuclear structure.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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