TMDs - JLab12

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Physics program > Nucleon Structure

Historically, transverse momentum dependent (TMD) distribution or fragmentation functions have first been suggested to explain the surprisingly large and otherwise puzzling single-spin asymmetries observed in hadronic reactions with transversely polarized protons. These measurements revealed up to 40% asymmetries in proton-proton collisions which persist to high energies. Such single-spin asymmetries are commonly expected to be suppressed at high energy. They indicate new, not yet explored features in nucleon structure: significant spin-orbit coupling in the nucleon associated with quark transverse momentum and the bound state structure of the nucleon. The unexpected experimental findings provoked the development of new concepts for parton distributions over the last two decades with the introduction of TMD distribution and fragmentation functions, which break with the common collinear approximation for the description of hard processes in QCD. The novel TMD distributions, including an additional degree of freedom the transverse momentum of the parton are a key to unravel the intricacies of the intrinsic motion of partons and the possible connection between their orbital motion, their spin and the spin of the nucleon, which cannot be described with standard PDFs. Observables of TMD distributions are spin and/or azimuthal asymmetries measured in proton-proton collisions as well as in semi-inclusive meson production in deep-inelastic lepton-nucleon scattering, where in addition to the scattered lepton at least one hadron is observed in the final state.

Jefferson Lab at 12 GeV will study TMDs in semi-inclusive DIS processes with unprecedented accuracy and in a kinematic region where transverse spin effects and spin-orbit couplings are very relevant. The key for performing these studies is the usage of both longitudinally and transversely polarised targets as well as polarised beams together with spectrometers capable to identify the various different hadron types in the final state.
n the final state.

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