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Background: Effective interactions for elastic nucleon-nucleus scattering from first principles require the use of the same nucleon-nucleon interaction in the structure and reaction calculations, as well as a consistent treatment of the relevant operators at each order. Purpose: Previous work using these interactions has shown good agreement with available data. Here, we study the physical relevance of one of these operators, which involves the spin of the struck nucleon, and examine the interpretation of this quantity in a nuclear structure context. Methods: Using the framework of the spectator expansion and the underlying framework of the no-core shell model, we calculate and examine spin-projected, one-body momentum distributions required for effective nucleon-nucleus interactions in J=0 nuclear states. Results: The calculated spin-projected, one-body momentum distributions for He4, He6, and He8 display characteristic behavior based on the occupation of protons and neutrons in single-particle levels, with more nucleons of one type yielding momentum distributions with larger values. Additionally, we find this quantity is strongly correlated to the magnetic moment of the 2+ excited state in the ground state rotational band for each nucleus considered. Conclusions: We find that spin-projected, one-body momentum distributions can probe the spin content of a J=0 wave function. This feature may allow future ab initio nucleon-nucleus scattering studies to inform spin properties of the underlying nucleon-nucleon interactions. The observed correlation to the magnetic moment of excited states illustrates a previously unknown connection between reaction observables such as the analyzing power and structure observables like the magnetic moment.

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Physical Review C