We investigate the possibility of a (sizable) nonperturbative contribution to the charm parton distribution function (PDF) in a nucleon, theoretical issues arising in its interpretation, and its potential impact on LHC scattering processes. The “fitted charm” PDF obtained in various QCD analyses contains a process-dependent component that is partly traced to power-suppressed radiative contributions in DIS and is generally different at the LHC. We discuss separation of the universal component of the nonperturbative charm from the rest of the radiative contributions and estimate its magnitude in the CT14 global QCD analysis at the next-to-next-to leading order in the QCD coupling strength, including the latest experimental data from HERA and the Large Hadron Collider. Models for the nonperturbative charm PDF are examined as a function of the charm quark mass and other parameters. The prospects for testing these models in the associated production of a Z boson and a charm jet at the LHC are studied under realistic assumptions, including effects of the final-state parton showering.
Journal of High Energy Physics
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)