Theoretical studies of medium- and high-energy electron scattering off light nuclei Grant

Theoretical studies of medium- and high-energy electron scattering off light nuclei .


  • Atomic nuclei make up close to 100% of visible matter around us. Even though it's known that nuclei are bound by the underlying fundamental theory of the strong nuclear interaction, it is not yet understood how exactly they (and the nucleons within them) emerge from it. This project will study and advance our knowledge of the strong interaction through the theoretical modeling of high-energy reactions with light nuclei. Light nuclei consist of only a few nucleons, resulting in reactions with a high degree of precision and control. In these systems, the strong interactions can be studied both between different nucleons and within a single nucleon, where it acts on the fundamental quark and gluon building blocks. The PI will mentor graduate students working on the research, develop a graduate course in nuclear physics, and engage in outreach activities involving high-school teachers.

    The goal of this project is to advance our theoretical understanding of non-perturbative aspects of the strong interaction through electron scattering off light nuclei. In high-energy reactions, an electron probes the nucleus as if sitting on a wave front moving at the speed of light. Hence the PI and his collaborators will use the framework of light-front quantum mechanics, which enables one to cleanly separate the low-energy nuclear structure of the light nucleus from the high-energy reaction dynamics. Light nuclei offer unique features to probe the strong interaction: they can be polarized, enabling spin-dependent studies; the initial nuclear state is well known and can be controlled in measurements. For this project, the PI will exploit these features in reactions on the deuteron and helium. These studies are of importance for current and future measurements at US-based accelerator facilities such as Jefferson Lab and the future electron-ion collider.

    This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

date/time interval

  • August 15, 2021 - July 31, 2024

administered by

sponsor award ID

  • 2111442