Data analysis techniques, differential cross sections, and spin density matrix elements for the reaction gamma p -> phi p
High-statistics measurements of differential cross sections and spin density matrix elements for the reaction γp → ϕp have been made using the CLAS detector at Jefferson Lab. We cover center-of-mass energies (√s) from 1.97 to 2.84 GeV, with an extensive coverage in the ϕ production angle. The high statistics of the data sample made it necessary to carefully account for the interplay between the ϕ natural lineshape and effects of the detector resolution, that are found to be comparable in magnitude. We study both the charged- (ϕ → K[superscript +]K[superscript −]) and neutral- (ϕ → K[0 over S]K[0 over L]) K[⎯⎯⎯ over K] decay modes of the ϕ. Further, for the charged mode, we differentiate between the cases where the final K[superscript −] track is directly detected or its momentum reconstructed as the total missing momentum in the event. The two charged-mode topologies and the neutral-mode have different resolutions and are calibrated against each other. Extensive usage is made of kinematic fitting to improve the reconstructed ϕ mass resolution. Our final results are reported in 10- and mostly 30-MeV-wide √s bins for the charged- and the neutral-modes, respectively. Possible effects from K[superscript +]Λ[superscript ∗] channels with pK[⎯⎯⎯ over K] final states are discussed. These present results constitute the most precise and extensive ϕ photoproduction measurements to date and in conjunction with the ω photoproduction results recently published by CLAS, will greatly improve our understanding of low energy vector meson photoproduction.