Imaging nuclear modifications on parton distributions with triple-differential dijet cross sections in proton-nucleus collisions
Dijet production in proton-nucleus (p A ) collisions at the LHC provides invaluable information on the underlying parton distributions in nuclei, especially the gluon distributions. Triple-differential dijet cross sections enable a well-controlled kinematic scan (over momentum fraction x and probing scale Q2) of the nuclear parton distribution functions (nPDFs), i.e., fiA(x ,Q2). In this work, we study several types of triple-differential cross sections for dijet production in proton-proton and proton-lead (p Pb ) collisions at the LHC, to next-to-leading order within the framework of perturbative quantum chromodynamics (pQCD). Four sets of nPDF parametrizations, EPPS16, nCTEQ15, TUJU19, and nIMParton16 are employed in the calculations for p Pb collisions. We show that the observable nuclear modification factor Rp Pb of such cross sections can serve as a nice image of the nuclear modifications on parton distributions, quantified by the ratio riA(x ,Q2)=fiA ,proton(x ,Q2)/fiproton(x ,Q2). Considerable differences among the Rp Pb predicted by the four nPDF sets can be observed and intuitively understood. Future measurements of such observables are expected to not only constrain the nPDF parametrizations, but also help confirm various nuclear effects, e.g., shadowing, antishadowing, EMC, and Fermi motion in different regions of x and their variations with probing scale Q2.