We discuss the physics of large impact parameter interactions at the LHC: ultraperipheral collisions (UPCs). The dominant processes in UPCs are photon-nucleon (nucleus) interactions. The current LHC detector configurations can explore hard phenomena at small x with nuclei and nucleons at photon-nucleon center-of-mass energies above 1 TeV, extending the x range of HERA by a factor of ten. In particular, it will be possible to probe diffractive and inclusive parton densities in nuclei using several processes. The interaction of small dipoles with protons and nuclei can be investigated in elastic and quasi-elastic J / ψ and Υ production as well as in high t ρ0 production accompanied by a rapidity gap. Several of these phenomena provide clean signatures of the onset of the new high gluon density QCD regime. The LHC is in the kinematic range where nonlinear effects are several times larger than those at HERA. Two-photon processes in UPCs are also studied. In addition, while UPCs play a role in limiting the maximum beam luminosity, they can also be used as a luminosity monitor by measuring mutual electromagnetic dissociation of the beam nuclei. We also review similar studies at HERA and RHIC as well as describe the potential use of the LHC detectors for UPC measurements.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)