Parity violating electron nucleus scattering is a clean and powerful tool for measuring the spatial distributions of neutrons in nuclei with unprecedented accuracy. Parity violation arises from the interference of electromagnetic and weak neutral amplitudes, and the [Formula Presented] of the standard model couples primarily to neutrons at low [Formula Presented] The data can be interpreted with as much confidence as electromagnetic scattering. After briefly reviewing the present theoretical and experimental knowledge of neutron densities, we discuss possible parity violation measurements, their theoretical interpretation, and applications. The experiments are feasible at existing facilities. We show that theoretical corrections are either small or well understood, which makes the interpretation clean. The quantitative relationship to atomic parity nonconservation observables is examined, and we show that the electron scattering asymmetries can be directly applied to atomic parity nonconservation because the observables have approximately the same dependence on nuclear shape.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics