Scaling of the F2 structure function in nuclei and quark distributions at x>1

Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Nov 19;105(21):212502. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.212502. Epub 2010 Nov 17.


We present new data on electron scattering from a range of nuclei taken in Hall C at Jefferson Lab. For heavy nuclei, we observe a rapid falloff in the cross section for x>1, which is sensitive to short-range contributions to the nuclear wave function, and in deep inelastic scattering corresponds to probing extremely high momentum quarks. This result agrees with higher energy muon scattering measurements, but is in sharp contrast to neutrino scattering measurements which suggested a dramatic enhancement in the distribution of the "superfast" quarks probed at x>1. The falloff at x>1 is noticeably stronger in 2H and 3He, but nearly identical for all heavier nuclei.