Parton distribution functions with QED corrections
We present the first unbiased determination of parton distribution functions (PDFs) with electroweak corrections. The aim of this thesis is to provide an exhaustive description of the theoretical framework and the technical implementation which leads to the determination of a set of PDFs which includes the photon PDF and quantum electrodynamics (QED) contributions to parton evolution. First, we introduce and motivate the need of including electroweak corrections to PDFs, providing
... al examples and presenting an overview of the current state of the art in PDF fits. The theoretical implications of such corrections are then described through the implementation of the combined QCD+QED evolution in APFEL, a public code for the solution of the PDF evolution developed particularly for this thesis. We proceed by presenting the new structure of the Neural-Network PDF (NNPDF) methodology used for the extraction of this set of PDFs with QED corrections. We then provide a first determination of the full set of PDFs based on deep-inelastic scattering data and LHC data for W and Z/γ^* Drell-Yan production, using leading-order QED and NLO or NNLO QCD: the so-called NNPDF2.3QED set of PDFs. We perform a preliminary investigation of the phenomenological implications of NNPDF2.3QED set, in particular, focusing on the photon-induced corrections to direct photon production at HERA, high-mass dilepton and W pair production at the LHC and finally, providing a first determination of lepton PDFs through the APFEL evolution. We conclude with a summary of the technological upgrades required for the improvement of future PDF determinations with electroweak corrections.