Improving constraints on gluon spin-momentum correlations in transversely polarized protons via midrapidity open-heavy-flavor electrons in $p^{\uparrow}+p$ collisions at $\sqrt{s}=200$ GeV

The PHENIX collaboration

Abstract (data abstract)
Polarized proton-proton collisions provide leading-order access to gluons, presenting an opportunity to constrain gluon spin-momentum correlations within transversely polarized protons and enhance our understanding of the three-dimensional structure of the proton. Midrapidity open-heavy-flavor production at $\sqrt{s}=200$ GeV is dominated by gluon-gluon fusion, providing heightened sensitivity to gluon dynamics relative to other production channels. Transverse single-spin asymmetries of positrons and electrons from heavy-flavor hadron decays are measured at midrapidity using the PHENIX detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. These charge-separated measurements are sensitive to gluon correlators that can in principle be related to gluon orbital angular momentum via model calculations. Explicit constraints on gluon correlators are extracted for two separate models, one of which had not been constrained previously.

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