The neutron skin of 208Pb from coherent pion photoproduction

Crystal Ball MAMI A2 Collaboration, C. M. Tarbert*, D. P. Watts, D. I. Glazier, P. Aguar, J. Ahrens, J. R. M. Annand, H. J. Arends, R. Beck, V. Bekrenev, B. Boillat, A. Braghieri, D. Branford, W. J. Briscoe, J. Brudvik, S. Cherepnya, R. Codling, E. J. Downie, K. Foehl, P. GrabmayrR. Gregor, E. Heid, D. Hornidge, O. Jahn, V. L. Kashevarov, A. Knezevic, R. Kondratiev, M. Korolija, M. Kotulla, D. Krambrich, B. Krusche, M. Lang, V. Lisin, K. Livingston, S. Lugert, I. J. D. MacGregor, D. M. Manley, M. Martinez, J. C. McGeorge, D. Mekterovic, V. Metag, B. M. K. Nefkens, A. Nikolaev, R. Novotny, R. O. Owens, P. Pedroni, A. Polonski, S. N. Prakhov, J. W. Price, G. Rosner, S. Schumann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information on the size and shape of the neutron skin on $^{208}$Pb has been extracted from coherent pion photoproduction cross sections measured using the Crystal Ball together with the Glasgow tagger at the MAMI electron beam facility. Exploiting an interpolated fit of a theoretical model to the measured cross sections the half-height radius and diffuseness of the neutron distribution are found to be 6.77$\pm 0.03(stat)$ fm and 0.55$\pm 0.01(stat)$$^{+0.00}_{-0.025}(sys)$ fm respectively, corresponding to a neutron skin thickness $\Delta r_{np}$=0.19$\pm 0.03(stat)$$^{+0.00}_{-0.03}(sys)$ fm. The results give the first successful extraction of a neutron skin with an electromagnetic probe and indicate the skin of $^{208}$Pb has a halo character. The measurement provides valuable new constraints on both the structure of nuclei and the equation of state for neutron rich matter.
Original languageEnglish
Article number242502
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2014


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