Transverse target spin asymmetry in inclusive DIS with two-photon exchange

A. Afanasev, M. Strikman, C. Weiss

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34 Scopus citations


We study the transverse target spin dependence of the cross section for inclusive electron-nucleon scattering with unpolarized beam. Such dependence is absent in the one-photon exchange approximation (Christ-Lee theorem) and arises only in higher orders of the QED expansion, from the interference of one-photon and absorptive two-photon exchange amplitudes as well as from real photon emission (bremsstrahlung). We demonstrate that the transverse spin-dependent two-photon exchange cross section is free of QED infrared and collinear divergences. We argue that in DIS kinematics the transverse spin dependence should be governed by a "partonlike" mechanism in which the two-photon exchange couples mainly to a single quark. We calculate the normal spin asymmetry in an approximation where the dominant contribution arises from quark-helicity flip due to interactions with nonperturbative vacuum fields (constituent quark picture) and is proportional to the quark transversity distribution in the nucleon. Such helicity-flip processes are not significantly Sudakov-suppressed if the infrared scale for gluon emission in the photon-quark subprocess is of the order of the chiral symmetry breaking scale, μchiral2ΛQCD2. We estimate the asymmetry in the kinematics of the planned Jefferson Lab Hall A experiment to be of the order 10-4, with different sign for proton and neutron. We also comment on the spin dependence in the limit of soft high-energy scattering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014028
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 25 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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