Measurement of the neutron F2 structure function via spectator tagging with CLAS

Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Apr 6;108(14):142001. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.142001. Epub 2012 Apr 6.


We report on the first measurement of the F(2) structure function of the neutron from the semi-inclusive scattering of electrons from deuterium, with low-momentum protons detected in the backward hemisphere. Restricting the momentum of the spectator protons to ≲100 MeV/c and their angles to ≳100° relative to the momentum transfer allows an interpretation of the process in terms of scattering from nearly on-shell neutrons. The F(2)(n) data collected cover the nucleon-resonance and deep-inelastic regions over a wide range of Bjorken x for 0.65<Q(2)<4.52 GeV(2), with uncertainties from nuclear corrections estimated to be less than a few percent. These measurements provide the first determination of the neutron to proton structure function ratio F(2)(n)/F(2)(p) at 0.2≲x≲0.8 with little uncertainty due to nuclear effects.