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Nuclear dependence of the transverse-single-spin asymmetry for forward neutron production in polarized $$p$$$$+$$$$A$$ collisions at $$sqrt{s_{_{NN}}}=200$$ GeV

Aidala, C.*; Hasegawa, Shoichi   ; Imai, Kenichi; Sako, Hiroyuki   ; Sato, Susumu  ; Tanida, Kiyoshi   ; PHENIX Collaboration*; 309 of others*

During 2015 the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) provided collisions of transversely polarized protons with Au and Al nuclei for the first time, enabling the exploration of transverse-single-spin asymmetries with heavy nuclei. Large single-spin asymmetries in very forward neutron production have been previously observed in transversely polarized $$p+p$$ collisions at RHIC, and the existing theoretical framework that was successful in describing the single-spin asymmetry in $$p+p$$ collisions predicts only a moderate atomic-mass-number ($$A$$) dependence. In contrast, the asymmetries observed at RHIC in $$p+A$$ collisions showed a surprisingly strong $$A$$ dependence in inclusive forward neutron production. The observed asymmetry in $$p$$+Al collisions is much smaller, while the asymmetry in $$p$$ + Au collisions is a factor of three larger in absolute value and of opposite sign. The interplay of different neutron production mechanisms is discussed as a possible explanation of the observed $$A$$ dependence.



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Category:Physics, Multidisciplinary



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