We perform a phenomenological analysis of the cos 2 phi azimuthal asymmetry in virtual photon plus jet production induced by the linear polarization of gluons in unpolarized pA collisions. Although the linearly polarized gluon distribution becomes maximal at small x, TMD evolution leads to a Sudakov suppression of the asymmetry with increasing invariant mass of the gamma*-jet pair. Employing a small-x model input distribution, the asymmetry is found to be strongly suppressed under TMD evolution, but still remains sufficiently large to be measurable in the typical kinematical region accessible at RHIC or LHC at moderate photon virtuality, whereas it is expected to be negligible in Z/W-jet pair production at LHC. We point out the optimal kinematics for RHIC and LHC studies, in order to expedite the first experimental studies of the linearly polarized gluon distribution through this process. We further argue that this is a particularly clean process to test the k(t)-resummation formalism in the small-x regime.
- Perturbative QCD
- TRANSVERSE-MOMENTUM DISTRIBUTION
- LARGE NUCLEI