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Parity-Violating Electron Scattering

In parity-violating electron scattering experiments, we are able to access the subtle effects of the neutral weak force (mediated by the Z0 boson) between electrons and target particles, by measuring the tiny difference in the probability for scattering with incident right- or left-handed electrons. We use such measurements to:

  • Probe the strange quark structure of the nucleon (HAPPEX experiment at Jefferson Lab)
  • Measure the neutron skin in a heavy, spinless nucleus such as 208Pb (PREX Experiment at Jefferson Lab)
  • Probe the validity of the electroweak theory with high sensitivity at low energy and thus indirectly test theories of new physics at the TeV scale (E158 at SLAC and MOLLER/SoLID at Jefferson Lab)

In the news:

* E158