Towards a Precision Measurement of Parity-Violating e-p Elastic Scattering at Low Momentum Transfer
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The goal of the Q-weak experiment is to make a measurement of the proton's weak charge ($Q^p_W = 1-4\sin^2\theta_W$) to an accuracy of ~4%. This would represent a ~0.3% determination of the weak mixing angle ($\sin^2\theta_W$) at low energy. The measurement may be used for a precision test of the Standard Model (SM) prediction on the running of $\sin^2\theta_W$ with energy scale. The Q-weak experiment operates at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab). The experiment determines the proton's weak charge by measuring the parity violating asymmetry in elastic electron-proton scattering at low momentum transfer $Q^2 = 0.026 (GeV/c)^2$ and forward angles (~8 degree). The anticipated size of the asymmetry, based on the SM, is about 230 parts per billion (ppb). With the proposed accuracy, the experiment may probe new physics beyond Standard Model at the TeV scale. This thesis focuses on my contributions to the experiment, including track reconstruction for momentum transfer determination of the scattering process, and the focal plane scanner, a detector I designed and built to measure the flux profile of scattered electrons on the focal plane of the Q-weak spectrometer to assist in the extrapolation of low beam current tracking results to high beam current. Preliminary results from the commissioning and the first run period of the Q-weak experiment are reported and discussed.