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Published December 27, 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

Examination of higher-order twist contributions in parity-violating deep-inelastic electron-deuteron scattering


We show that parity-violating deep-inelastic scattering (PVDIS) of longitudinally polarized electrons from deuterium can in principle be a relatively clean probe of higher twist quark-quark correlations beyond the parton model. As first observed by Bjorken and Wolfenstein, the dominant contribution to the electron polarization asymmetry, proportional to the axial vector electron coupling, receives corrections at twist four from the matrix element of a single four-quark operator. We reformulate the Bjorken-Wolfenstein argument in a matter suitable for the interpretation of experiments planned at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab). In particular, we observe that because the contribution of the relevant twist-four operator satisfies the Callan-Gross relation, the ratio of parity-violating longitudinal and transverse cross sections, R^(γZ), is identical to that for purely electromagnetic scattering, R^γ, up to perturbative and power-suppressed contributions. This result simplifies the interpretation of the asymmetry in terms of other possible novel hadronic and electroweak contributions. We use the results of MIT Bag Model calculations to estimate contributions of the relevant twist-four operator to the leading term in the asymmetry as a function of Bjorken x and Q^2. We compare these estimates with possible leading twist corrections from violation of charge symmetry in the parton distribution functions.

Additional Information

© 2010 The American Physical Society. Received 6 July 2010; published 27 December 2010. We thank A. Belitsky, C. Keppel, K. Kumar, T. Hobbs, T. Longergan,W. Melnitchouk, P. Mulders, P. Reimer, P. Souder, and C. Weiss for helpful exchanges and references to the literature. This work was supported in part under US Department of Energy Contract No. DE-FG02-08ER4153, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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