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Nuclear Physics Seminars at BNL

Quantum Interference Enabled Nuclear Tomography

by Daniel Brandenburg (Brookhaven National Laboratory)


A linearly polarized photon can be quantized from the Lorentz-boosted electromagnetic field of a nucleus traveling at ultra-relativistic speed. When two relativistic heavy nuclei pass one another at a distance of a few nuclear radii, the photon from one nucleus may interact through a virtual quark-antiquark pair with gluons from the other nucleus forming a short-lived vector meson (e.g. ρ0 ). In this experiment, the polarization was utilized in diffractive photoproduction to observe a unique spin interference pattern in the angular distribution of ρ0 → π +π − decays. The observed interference is a result of an overlap of two wave functions at a distance an order of magnitude larger than the ρ0 travel distance within its lifetime. The strong-interaction nuclear radii were extracted from these diffractive interactions, and found to be 6.53 ± 0.06 fm ( 197Au) and 7.29 ± 0.08 fm ( 238U), larger than the nuclear charge radii. The observable is demonstrated to be sensitive to the nuclear geometry and quantum interference of non-identical particles.

Reference: arXiv:2204.01625


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