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Measurement of the neutron lifetime by counting trapped protons in a cold neutron beam

By J.S. Nico, M.S. Dewey, D.M. Gilliam, F.E. Wietfeldt, X. Fei, W.M. Snow, G.L. Greene, J. Pauwels, R. Eykens, A. Lamberty, J. Van Gestel and R.D. Scott

Abstract

A measurement of the neutron lifetime τn performed by the absolute counting of in-beam neutrons and their decay protons has been completed. Protons confined in a quasi-Penning trap were accelerated onto a silicon detector held at a high potential and counted with nearly unit efficiency. The neutrons were counted by a device with an efficiency inversely proportional to neutron velocity, which cancels the dwell time of the neutron beam in the trap. The result is τn=(886.3±1.2[stat]±3.2[sys]) s, which is the most precise measurement of the lifetime using an in-beam method. The systematic uncertainty is dominated by neutron counting, in particular, the mass of the deposit and the 6Li(n,t) cross section. The measurement technique and apparatus, data analysis, and investigation of systematic uncertainties are discussed in detail

Topics: QC
Publisher: 'American Physical Society (APS)'
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1103/PhysRevC.71.055502
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.gla.ac.uk:48299
Provided by: Enlighten
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