We systematically derive the collision term for the axial kinetic theory, a quantum kinetic theory delineating the coupled dynamics of the vector/axial charges and spin transport carried by the massive spin-1/2 fermions traversing a medium. We employ the Wigner-function approach and propose a consistent power-counting scheme where the axial-charge distribution function, a non-conserved quantity for massive particles, is accounted as the first-order quantity in the ħ expansion, while the vector-charge distribution function the zeroth-order quantity. This specific power-counting scheme allows us to organize a reduced ħ expansion for the collision term and to formally identity the spin- diffusion effect and the spin-polarization effect at the same order. We confirm that the obtained collisional axial kinetic theory smoothly reduces to the chiral kinetic theory in the massless limit, serving as a consistency check. In the absence of electromagnetic fields, we further present the simplified axial kinetic equations suitable for tracking dynamical spin polarization of heavy and light fermions, respectively. As an application to the weakly coupled quark-gluon plasma at high temperature, we compute the spin-diffusion term for massive quarks within the leading-log approximation. The formal expression for the first- order terms provides a path toward evaluation of the spin polarization effect in quantum chromodynamics.
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