Exploring the strong interaction of three-body systems at the LHC

ALICE Collaboration
Nuclear Experiment, Nuclear Experiment (nucl-ex), High Energy Physics - Experiment (hep-ex)
2023-08-29 16:00:00
Deuterons are atomic nuclei composed of a neutron and a proton held together by the strong interaction. Unbound ensembles composed of a deuteron and a third nucleon have been investigated in the past using scattering experiments and they constitute a fundamental reference in nuclear physics to constrain nuclear interactions and the properties of nuclei. In this work K$^{+}-$d and p$-$d femtoscopic correlations measured by the ALICE Collaboration in proton$-$proton (pp) collisions at $\sqrt{s}=13$ TeV at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are presented. It is demonstrated that correlations in momentum space between deuterons and kaons or protons allow us to study three-hadron systems at distances comparable with the proton radius. The analysis of the K$^{+}-$d correlation shows that the relative distances at which deuterons and proton/kaons are produced are around 2 fm. The analysis of the p$-$d correlation shows that only a full three-body calculation that accounts for the internal structure of the deuteron can explain the data. In particular, the sensitivity of the observable to the short-range part of the interaction is demonstrated. These results indicate that correlations involving light nuclei in pp collisions at the LHC will also provide access to any three-body systems in the strange and charm sectors.
PDF: Exploring the strong interaction of three-body systems at the LHC.pdf
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