Measuring nucleon-nucleon short range correlations (SRCs) has been a goal of the nuclear physics community for many years. They are an important part of the nuclear wave function, accounting for almost all of the high-momentum strength. They are closely related to the EMC effect. While their overall probability has been measured, measuring their momentum distributions is more difficult. In order to determine the best configuration for studying SRC momentum distributions, we measured the 3He(e,e’ pp)n reaction, looking at events with high-momentum protons (pp > 0.35 GeV/c) and a low-momentum neutron (pn < 0.2 GeV/c). We examined two angular configurations: either both protons emitted forward or one proton emitted forward and one backward (with respect to the momentum transfer, q). The measured relative momentum distribution of the events with one forward and one backward proton was much closer to the calculated initial-state pp relative momentum distribution, indicating that this is the preferred configuration for measuring SRC.

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Copyright © 2012 American Physical Society. This article first appeared in Physical Review C 85, no. 6 (June 21, 2012): 064318:1-8. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.85.064318.

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