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Electron scattering provides the most reliable structure information of atomic nuclei by virtue of the fact that the electron is a point-like particle, and probes nuclei through the fairly weak and well-understood electromagnetic interaction.   Since the electron scattering process off a nucleus is perfectly described by QED, extraction of the internal structure information from experimental data is straightforward and precise. Thus, electron scattering has consistently played a key role in the structure studies of atomic nuclei.


It has been, however, limited only to stable nuclei, that one can prepare targets for electron scattering experiments.  Correctly speaking, there are several examples for unstable nuclei whose lifetime are very long, but no experiment for highly unstable (short-lived) nuclei, locating far from the stability line, has been ever conducted.


The final goal of this research is the measurements of the charge distribution of short-lived nuclei by elastic electron scattering.  Even after the Nobel-prize experiments by R. Hofstadter and his colleagues about a half century before, elastic electron scattering is still one and only way to determine the charge density distribution.

 

Structure studies of short-lived nuclei by electron scattering