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Title: The pion: an enigma within the Standard Model

Almost 50 years after the discovery of gluons & quarks, we are only just beginning to understand how QCD builds the basic bricks for nuclei: neutrons, protons, and the pions that bind them. QCD is characterised by two emergent phenomena: confinement & dynamical chiral symmetry breaking (DCSB). They are expressed with great force in the character of the pion. In turn, pion properties suggest that confinement & DCSB are closely connected. As both a Nambu-Goldstone boson and a quark-antiquark bound-state, the pion is unique in Nature. Developing an understanding of its properties is thus critical to revealing basic features of the Standard Model. We describe experimental progress in this direction, made using electromagnetic probes, highlighting both improvements in the precision of charged-pion form factor data, achieved in the past decade, and new results on the neutral-pion transition form factor. Both challenge existing notions of pion structure. We also provide a theoretical context for these empirical advances, first explaining how DCSB works to guarantee that the pion is unnaturally light; but also, nevertheless, ensures the pion is key to revealing the mechanisms that generate nearly all the mass of hadrons. Our discussion unifies the charged-pion elastic and neutral-pion transition form factors,more » and the pion's twist-2 parton distribution amplitude. It also indicates how studies of the charged-kaon form factor can provide significant contributions. Importantly, recent predictions for the large-$Q^2$ behaviour of the pion form factor can be tested by experiments planned at JLab 12. Those experiments will extend precise charged-pion form factor data to momenta that can potentially serve in validating factorisation theorems in QCD, exposing the transition between the nonperturbative and perturbative domains, and thereby reaching a goal that has long driven hadro-particle physics.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
JLAB-PHY-16-2189; DOE/OR/23177-3966; arXiv:1602.04016
Journal ID: ISSN 0954-3899
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357; PHY-1306227
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Physics. G, Nuclear and Particle Physics; Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 7
Research Org:
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, VA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Nuclear Physics (NP) (SC-26)
Country of Publication:
United States