A=3(e,e′) xB≥1 cross-section ratios and the isospin structure of short-range correlations

A. Schmidt, A. W. Denniston, E. M. Seroka, N. Barnea, D. W. Higinbotham, I. Korover, G. A. Miller, E. Piasetzky, M. Strikman, L. B. Weinstein, R. Weiss, O. Hen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the relation between measured high-xB, high-Q2, helium-3 to tritium, (e,e′) inclusive-scattering cross-section ratios and the relative abundance of high-momentum neutron-proton (np) and proton-proton (pp) short-range correlated nucleon pairs in three-body (A=3) nuclei. Analysis of these data using a simple pair-counting cross-section model suggested a much smaller np/pp ratio than previously measured in heavier nuclei, questioning our understanding of A=3 nuclei and, by extension, all other nuclei. Here, we examine this finding using spectral-function-based cross-section calculations, with both an ab initio A=3 spectral function and effective generalized contact formalism spectral functions using different nucleon-nucleon interaction models. The ab initio calculation agrees with the data, showing good understanding of the structure of A=3 nuclei. An 8% uncertainty on the simple pair-counting model, as implied by the difference between it and the ab initio calculation, gives a factor of 5 uncertainty in the extracted np/pp ratio. Thus we see no evidence for the claimed "unexpected structure in the high-momentum wave function for hydrogen-3 and helium-3".

Original languageEnglish
Article number054001
JournalPhysical Review C
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


FundersFunder number
PAZY Foundation
Laboratory Directed Research and Development
Israel Science Foundation1086/21
Israel Science Foundation
U.S. Department of EnergyDE-SC0020240, DE-FG02-97ER-41014, DE-SC0016583, DE-FG02-96ER40960, DE-FG02-93ER40771
U.S. Department of Energy
Los Alamos National Laboratory20210763PRD1
Los Alamos National Laboratory


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