The colour of gluon interactions : Studies of Quantum Chromodynamics in soft and hard processes
Abstract: Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) is the theory of the strong interaction, one of the fundamental forces of nature. The interactions between quarks are mediated by gluons, which are the colour-charged gauge fields in QCD. Hard processes with a large momentum transfer can be calculated using perturbation theory, while soft processes with a small momentum transfer are poorly understood. In this thesis, various aspects of the gluon interactions are studied based on the interplay between hard and soft processes.Soft gluon exchanges do not affect the dynamics of a hard process, but can rearrange the colour topology, resulting in different final states. The soft colour interaction models employ this idea and give a good description of all diffractive hard scattering data observed in pp collisions (W, Z, dijets, bb, J/ψ). This thesis also presents predictions for diffractive Higgs and γγ production at present and future hadron colliders.Multiple gluon exchanges give rise to saturation effects in hadronic collisions at high energies. Implementing this idea in photon-photon collisions gives new insight into the quantum structure of the photon and its interactions at high energies. When combined with perturbative calculations for single gluon exchange, the obtained results are in good agreement with experimental data from e+e- colliders.Off-shell gluon distributions in the photon give another perspective on the photon structure and have been parameterized for the first time in this thesis. These are useful for calculating cross sections of processes where the effects of transverse momenta are crucial, for example heavy quark production in γp or γγ collisions.Quantization of gauge fields which have a richer gauge structure than the gluons in QCD, is studied using the powerful BRST quantization formalism. Thus, first-stage reducible theories, like topological Yang-Mills and spin-5/2 gauge fields, are successfully quantized in an irreducible way.Understanding gluon interactions and the interplay between soft and hard processes paves the way towards solving the longstanding problem of confinement in QCD.
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