A new twist on top quark spin correlations

Matthew Baumgart, Brock Tweedie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Top-antitop pairs produced at hadron colliders are largely unpolarized, but their spins are highly correlated. The structure of these correlations varies significantly over top production phase space, allowing very detailed tests of the Standard Model. Here, we explore top quark spin correlation measurement from a general perspective, highlighting the role of azimuthal decay angles. By taking differences and sums of these angles about the top-antitop production axis, the presence of spin correlations can be seen as sinusoidal modulations resulting from the interference of different helicity channels. At the LHC, these modulations exhibit nontrivial evolution from near-threshold production into the boosted regime, where they become sensitive to almost the entire QCD correlation effect for centrally produced tops. We demonstrate that this form of spin correlation measurement is very robust under full kinematic reconstruction, and should already be observable with high significance using the current LHC data set. We also illustrate some novel ways that new physics can alter the azimuthal distributions. In particular, we estimate the power of our proposed measurements in probing for anomalous color-dipole operators, as well as for broad resonances with parity-violating couplings. Using these methods, the 2012 run of the LHC may be capable of setting simultaneous limits on the top quark's anomalous chromomagnetic and chromoelectric dipole moments at the level of 3 × 10-18 cm (0.03/m t ).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Beyond Standard Model
  • CP violation
  • Heavy Quark Physics
  • Standard Model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'A new twist on top quark spin correlations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this