Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
Predictions for exclusive photoproduction in ultraperipheral collisions at the LHC at next-to-leading order in perturbative QCD
University of Jyvaskyla, Department of Physics, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland
2 Helsinki Institute of Physics, P.O. Box 64, FI-00014, University of Helsinki, Finland
3 Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS, IJCLab, 91405, Orsay, France
Accepted: 15 August 2023
Published online: 29 August 2023
We present predictions for the rapidity-differential cross sections of exclusive photoproduction in ultraperipheral collisions (UPCs) of lead ions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). We work in the framework of collinear factorization at next-to-leading order (NLO) in perturbative QCD, modeling the generalized parton distributions (GPDs) through the Shuvaev transform of nuclear parton distribution functions (nPDFs). Our direct NLO predictions depend significantly on nPDF uncertainties and on the choices of the factorization and renormalization scales, but to a much lesser degree on GPD modeling. To tame the scale dependence and to account for the fact that the NLO calculations generally underpredict the photoproduction measurements on protons, we also present alternative, data-driven predictions. In this approach the underlying photoproduction cross sections on lead are found by combining their nuclear modifications calculated at NLO with the measured photoproduction cross sections on protons. The data-driven strategy reduces the uncertainties associated with the scale choices, and essentially eliminates the effects of GPD modeling thereby leaving the cross sections sensitive mainly to the input nPDFs. Our estimates indicate that the process is measurable in collisions at the LHC.
© The Author(s) 2023
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