Spin correlation effects in top quark pair production at the LHC

Gregory Mahlon, Stephen J. Parke

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96 Scopus citations


At a 14 TeV proton-proton collider, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), we show that top quark pair production is dominated at low invariant mass by the fusion of two like-helicity gluons, producing top quark pairs in the left-left or right-right helicity configurations. Whereas, at higher invariant mass the production is dominated by the fusion of unlike-helicity gluons, producing top quark pairs in the up-down or down-up off-diagonal configurations, identical to top quark pair production via quark-antiquark annihilation. We study in detail the low invariant mass region, and show that the spin correlations can be easily observed in this region by looking at the distribution of the difference in the azimuthal angles, Δφ, of the dileptons decay products of the top quarks in the laboratory frame. Because of the large cross section for top pair production at the LHC, even with a cut requiring that the invariant mass of the top quark pair be less than 400 GeV, the approximate yield would be 104 dilepton (e,μ) events per fb-1 before detector efficiencies are applied. Therefore, there is ample statistics to form the Δφ distribution of the dilepton events, even with the invariant mass restriction. We also discuss possibilities for observing these spin correlations in the lepton plus jets channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number074024
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 22 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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