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Three-jet cross-sections to next-to-leading order


{\small #6} \noindent One- and two-jet inclusive quantities in hadron collisions have already been calculated to next-to-leading order accuracy, using both the subtraction and the cone method. Since the one-loop corrections have recently been obtained for all five-parton amplitudes, three-jet inclusive quantities can also be predicted to next-to-leading order. The subtraction method presented in the literature is based on a systematic use of boost-invariant kinematical variables, and therefore its application to three-jet production is quite cumbersome. In this paper we re-analyze the subtraction method and point out the advantage of using angle and energy variables. This leads to simpler results and it has complete generality, extending its validity to $n$-jet production. The formalism is also applicable to $n$-jet production in $e^+e^-$ annihilation and in photon-hadron collisions. All the analytical results necessary to construct an efficient numerical program for next-to-leading order three-jet inclusive quantities in hadroproduction are given explicitly. As new analytical result, we also report the collinear limits of all the two-to-four processes.

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