Measurement of the two-photon exchange contribution to lepton-proton scattering with OLYMPUS

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The OLYMPUS experiment measured the two-photon exchange contribution to elastic electron-proton scattering, over a range of four-momentum transfer from \(0.6 < Q^2 < 2.2\) \((\mathrm{GeV/c})^2\). The motivation for the

The OLYMPUS experiment measured the two-photon exchange contribution to elastic electron-proton scattering, over a range of four-momentum transfer from \(0.6 < Q^2 < 2.2\) \((\mathrm{GeV/c})^2\). The motivation for the experiment stemmed from measurements of the electric-to-magnetic form factor ratio of the proton \(\mu G_E/G_M\) extracted from polarization observables in polarized electron-proton scattering. Polarized electron-proton scattering experiments have revealed a significant decrease in \(\mu G_E/G_M\) at large \(Q^2\), in contrast to previous measurements from unpolarized electron-proton scattering. The commonly accepted hypothesis is that the discrepancy in the form factor ratio is due to neglected higher-order terms in the elastic electron-proton scattering cross section, in particular the two-photon exchange amplitude.

The goal of OLYMPUS was to measure the two-photon exchange contribution by measuring the positron-proton to electron-proton elastic scattering cross section ratio, \(\sigma_{e^+p}/\sigma_{e^-p}\). The two-photon exchange contribution is correlated to the deviation of the cross section ratio from unity.

In 2012, the OLYMPUS experiment collected over 4 fb\(^{-1}\) of \(e^+p\) and \(e^-p\) scattering data using electron and positron beams incident on a hydrogen gas target. The scattered leptons and protons were measured exclusively with a large acceptance spectrometer. OLYMPUS observed a slight rise in \(\sigma_{e^+p}/\sigma_{e^-p}\) of at most 1-2\% over a \(Q^2\) range of \(0.6 < Q^2 < 2.2\) \((\mathrm{GeV/c})^2\). This work discusses the motivations, experiment, analysis method, and the preliminary results for the cross section ratio as measured by OLYMPUS.