Date of Award

Winter 2022

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Karl Slifer

Second Advisor

Elena Long

Third Advisor

David Mattingly


The theory of the strong force, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) remains one of the mostimportant ways to understand the fundamental properties of ordinary matter. However, at low momentum transfer Q2, in the regime where the strong force becomes extremely strong, our understanding of QCD for ordinary nucleons becomes hazy. Several cutting edge theories such as Chiral Perturbation Theory (χPT) and Lattice QCD have provided valuable predictions in this regime, but Lattice QCD has not yet extended predictions of many important quantities to this kinematic region, and Chiral Perturbation Theory has faced several important disagreements with experimental data for the neutron over the last several decades. It is therefore of extreme importance to have a benchmark of experimental data in the low energy regime for the proton’s behavior, as a test of leading theories for the behavior of QCD in this regime. The E08-027 (g2p) experiment ran at Jefferson Lab in 2012 with the goal of collecting this valuable data, and though I was still completing my undergraduate studies at the time, I became involved in the analysis in 2015 and built on the previous work to complete it and analyze the exciting results. This experiment achieved a high precision measurement of the spin structure functions g1 and g2 for the proton, quantities which describe the internal spin structure of the proton. These measurements were taken in the valuable low Q2 region described above, and used to extract several moments of these spin structure functions which can be directly compared to the cutting-edge predictions of Chiral Perturbation Theory. Though the experiment’s timeline was such that I didn’t have a chance to work directly on the experimental setup, I had the opportunity to acquire hands-on experience working on a polarized target at UNH which is very similar to the crucial polarized target used in the g2p experiment. Full details of the g2p experiment and my experimental work at the University of New Hampshire are presented in this thesis, as well as a detailed description of the analysis process and the exciting benchmark results, which serve as a direct test of all current and future theories of QCD in the low-Q2 regime.