Electromagnetic probes have for decades provided the best detailed studies of the charge structure of atomic nuclei and have been invaluable in producing our modern understanding of the strong nuclear force. However, due to the fact that these probes almost entirely couple to the bound protons, information on the the underlying neutron distributions is comparatively very poor. In fact, it has only recently been experimentally confirmed that the neutron-rich lead nucleus even has a neutron skin, which was measured to be only a fraction of a neutron radius thick. Encoded in these distributions is a wealth of important information about how the strong nuclear force builds systems where the number of protons and neutrons are unequal. This information has bearing not only for our understanding of asymmetric nuclei, but also in the construction of extreme systems like neutron stars. Fortunately, nature gives us a novel way to image this side of the nucleus: through fundamental weak force interactions. In this seminar I will discuss why these neutron distributions play an important part in our understanding of nuclear physics and astrophysics, how one images such tiny systems with electron beams, and the recent and upcoming experimental efforts for such measurements.
Argonne Physics Division Seminar Schedule