Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
High-energy strong interactions: from ‘hard’ to ‘soft’
Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology, University of Durham, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK
2 Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, Gatchina, St. Petersburg, 188300, Russia
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Published online: 27 April 2011
We discuss the qualitative features of the recent data on multiparticle production observed at the LHC. The tolerable agreement with Monte Carlos based on LO DGLAP evolution indicates that there is no qualitative difference between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ interactions; and that a perturbative QCD approach may be extended into the soft domain. However, in order to describe the data, these Monte Carlos need an additional infrared cutoff k min with a value k min ∼2–3 GeV which is not small, and which increases with collider energy. Here we explain the physical origin of the large k min . Using an alternative model which matches the ‘soft’ high-energy hadron interactions smoothly on to perturbative QCD at small x, we demonstrate that this effective cutoff k min is actually due to the strong absorption of low k t partons. The model embodies the main features of the BFKL approach, including the diffusion in transverse momenta, ln k t , and an intercept consistent with resummed next-to-leading log corrections. Moreover, the model uses a two-channel eikonal framework, and includes the contributions from the multi-Pomeron exchange diagrams, both non-enhanced and enhanced. The values of a small number of physically-motivated parameters are chosen to reproduce the available total, elastic and proton dissociation cross section (pre-LHC) data. Predictions are made for the LHC, and the relevance to ultra-high-energy cosmic rays is briefly discussed. The low x inclusive integrated gluon PDF, and the diffractive gluon PDF, are calculated in this framework, using the parameters which describe the high-energy pp and ‘soft’ data. Comparison with the PDFs obtained from the global parton analyses of deep inelastic and related hard scattering data and from diffractive deep inelastic data looks encouraging.
© Springer-Verlag / Società Italiana di Fisica, 2011