Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Lawrence Weinstein

Committee Member

Leposava Vuskovic

Committee Member

Gail E. Dodge

Committee Member

Anatoly Radyushkin

Committee Member

Hussein M. Abdel-Wahab


The electric (GE) and magnetic ( GM) form factors of the proton are fundamental observables which characterize its charge and magnetization distributions. There are two methods to measure the proton form factors: the Rosenbluth separation method and the polarization transfer technique. However, the ratio of the electric and magnetic form factors measured by those methods significantly disagree at momentum transfer Q2 > 1 GeV2. The most likely explanation of this discrepancy is the inclusion of two-photon exchange (TPE) amplitude contributions to the elastic electron-proton cross section which significantly changes the extraction of GE from the Rosenbluth separation measurement. The Jefferson Lab CLAS TPE experiment determined the TPE contribution by measuring the ratio of positron-proton to electron-proton elastic scattering cross sections. The primary electron beam was used to create an intense bremsstrahlung photon beam. Some of the photons were then converted to a mixed e+/ e- beam which then interacted with a liquid hydrogen target. The e+p and e-p events were detected by the CLAS (CEBAF Large Acceptance Spectrometer). The elastic cross section ratios ((σ( e+p)/(σ(e -p)) were measured over a wide range of virtual photon polarization ϵ and Q2.

The cross section ratios displayed a strong ϵ dependence at Q2 = 1.45 GeV2. There is no significant Q2 dependence observed at ϵ = 0.45. The results are consistent with a recent measurement at the VEPP-3 lepton storage ring in Novosibirsk and with the hadronic calculation by Blunders, Melnitchouk and Tjon. The hadronic calculation resolves the disagreement between the Rosenbluth separation and polarization transfer extractions of GE/GM at Q2 up to 2 – 3 GeV2. Applying the GLAS TPE correction to the Rosenbluth cross section measurements significantly decreases the extracted value of GE and brings it into good agreement with the polarization transfer measurement at Q2∼1.75 GeV2. Thus, these measurements appear to resolve the proton electric form factor discrepancy for Q2 < 2 GeV2.