Measurement of the neutron radius of 208Pb through parity violation in electron scattering

Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Mar 16;108(11):112502. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.112502. Epub 2012 Mar 15.


We report the first measurement of the parity-violating asymmetry A(PV) in the elastic scattering of polarized electrons from 208Pb. A(PV) is sensitive to the radius of the neutron distribution (R(n)). The result A(PV)=0.656±0.060(stat)±0.014(syst) ppm corresponds to a difference between the radii of the neutron and proton distributions R(n)-R(p)=0.33(-0.18)(+0.16) fm and provides the first electroweak observation of the neutron skin which is expected in a heavy, neutron-rich nucleus.