Exclusive photoproduction of $\pi^0$ up to large values of Mandelstam variables $s, t$ and $u$ with CLAS

Research paper by M. C. Kunkel, 32, 18 M. J. Amaryan, 32, I. I. Strakovsky, 16 J. Ritman, 3, 18 G. R. Goldstein, 43 K. P. Adhikari, 28 S Adhikari, 13 H. Avakian, 39 J. Ball, 7 I. Balossino, 19 L. Barion, 19 M. Battaglieri, et al.

Indexed on: 29 Dec '17Published on: 29 Dec '17Published in: arXiv - High Energy Physics - Experiment


Exclusive photoproduction cross sections have been measured for the process $\gamma p \rightarrow p\pi^0(e^+e^-(\gamma))$ with the Dalitz decay final state using tagged photon energies in the range of $E_{\gamma} = 1.275-5.425$ GeV. The complete angular distribution of the final state $\pi^0$, for the entire photon energy range up to large values of $t$ and $u$, has been measured for the first time. The data obtained show that the cross section $d\sigma/dt$, at mid to large angles, decreases with energy as $s^{-6.89\pm 0.26} $. This is in agreement with the perturbative QCD quark counting rule prediction of $s^{-7} $. Paradoxically, the size of angular distribution of measured cross sections is greatly underestimated by the QCD based Generalized Parton Distribution mechanism at highest available invariant energy $s=11$ GeV$^2$. At the same time, the Regge exchange based models for $\pi^0$ photoproduction are more consistent with experimental data.