Special Article - Tools for Experiment and Theory
Forward hadron production in ultra-peripheral proton–heavy-ion collisions at the LHC and RHIC
Università degli Studi di Firenze and INFN Sezione di Firenze, Via Sansone 1, 50019, Sesto Fiorentino (Fi), Italy
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Accepted: 15 December 2015
Published online: 26 December 2015
We present a hadron production study in the forward rapidity region in ultra-peripheral proton–lead () collisions at the LHC and proton–gold () collisions at RHIC. The present paper is based on the Monte Carlo simulations of the interactions of a virtual photon emitted by a fast moving nucleus with a proton beam. The simulation consists of two stages: the starlight event generator simulates the virtual photon flux, which is then coupled to the sophia, dpmjet, and pythia event generators for the simulation of particle production. According to these Monte Carlo simulations, we find large cross sections for ultra-peripheral collisions particle production, especially in the very forward region. We show the rapidity distributions for charged and neutral particles, and the momentum distributions for neutral pions and neutrons at high rapidities. These processes lead to substantial background contributions to the investigations of collective nuclear effects and spin physics. Finally we propose a general method to distinguish between proton–nucleus () inelastic interactions and ultra-peripheral collisions which implements selection cuts based on charged-particles multiplicity at mid-rapidity and/or neutron activity at negative forward rapidity.
© The Author(s), 2015