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Probing the Gluonic Structure of the Deuteron with J/ψ Photoproduction in d+Au Ultraperipheral Collisions


Understanding gluon density distributions and how they are modified in nuclei are among the most important goals in nuclear physics. In recent years, diffractive vector meson production measured in ultraperipheral collisions (UPCs) at heavy-ion colliders has provided a new tool for probing the gluon density. In this Letter, we report the first measurement of J/ψ photoproduction off the deuteron in UPCs at the center-of-mass energy sqrt[s_{NN}]=200  GeV in d+Au collisions. The differential cross section as a function of momentum transfer -t is measured. In addition, data with a neutron tagged in the deuteron-going zero-degree calorimeter is investigated for the first time, which is found to be consistent with the expectation of incoherent diffractive scattering at low momentum transfer. Theoretical predictions based on the color glass condensate saturation model and the leading twist approximation nuclear shadowing model are compared with the data quantitatively. A better agreement with the saturation model has been observed. With the current measurement, the results are found to be directly sensitive to the gluon density distribution of the deuteron and the deuteron breakup process, which provides insights into the nuclear gluonic structure.

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