299 research outputs found

    Review of double beta experiments

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    This paper is the first part of the manuscript written in April 2012 for my academic Accreditation to supervise research. It offers a review of the double beta experimental techniques. My purpose is to detail, for each technique, the different origins of background, how they can be identified, and how they can be reduced. Advantages and limitations are discussed. This review is organized as follows. First, the question of the possible Majorana nature for the neutrino is presented and the physic of neutrinoless double beta decay is summarized. Then I begin by presenting the tracko-calo NEMO-3 and SuperNEMO experiments. I've worked on these two experiments since 15 years. So it was natural to start with them with a relatively more exhaustive description. I will then present the germanium technique. I will then review the bolometer technique. I will describe in detail the recent progress in scintillating bolometers because I think that it is one of the most promising techniques. Finally I will review the large liquid scintillator detectors and Xenon TPC. The last chapter offers a summary of the different techniques and projects.Comment: 100 pages; Manuscript for Accreditation to supervise research (Univ. Paris-Sud 11), May 201

    Double Beta Decay, Majorana Neutrinos, and Neutrino Mass

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    The theoretical and experimental issues relevant to neutrinoless double-beta decay are reviewed. The impact that a direct observation of this exotic process would have on elementary particle physics, nuclear physics, astrophysics and cosmology is profound. Now that neutrinos are known to have mass and experiments are becoming more sensitive, even the non-observation of neutrinoless double-beta decay will be useful. If the process is actually observed, we will immediately learn much about the neutrino. The status and discovery potential of proposed experiments are reviewed in this context, with significant emphasis on proposals favored by recent panel reviews. The importance of and challenges in the calculation of nuclear matrix elements that govern the decay are considered in detail. The increasing sensitivity of experiments and improvements in nuclear theory make the future exciting for this field at the interface of nuclear and particle physics.Comment: invited submission to Reviews of Modern Physics, higher resolution figures available upon request from authors, Version 2 has fixed typos and some changes after referee report

    Challenges in Double Beta Decay

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    After nearly 80 years since the first guess on its existence, neutrino still escapes our insight: the mass and the true nature (Majorana or Dirac) of this particle is still unknown. In the past ten years, neutrino oscillation experiments have finally provided the incontrovertible evidence that neutrinos mix and have finite masses. These results represent the strongest demonstration that the Standard Model of electroweak interactions is incomplete and that new Physics beyond it must exist. None of these experimental efforts could however shade light on some of the basic features of neutrinos. Indeed, absolute scale and ordering of the masses of the three generations as well as charge conjugation and lepton number conservation properties are still unknown. In this scenario, a unique role is played by the Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay searches: these experiments can probe lepton number conservation, investigate the Dirac/Majorana nature of the neutrinos and their absolute mass scale (hierarchy problem) with unprecedented sensitivity. Today Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay faces a new era where large scale experiments with a sensitivity approaching the so-called degenerate-hierarchy region are nearly ready to start and where the challenge for the next future is the construction of detectors characterized by a tonne-scale size and an incredibly low background, to fully probe the inverted-hierarchy region. A number of new proposed projects took up this challenge. These are based either on large expansions of the present experiments or on new ideas to improve the technical performance and/or reduce the background contributions. n this paper, a review of the most relevant ongoing experiments is given. The most relevant parameters contributing to the experimental sensitivity are discussed and a critical comparison of the future projects is proposed.Comment: 70 pages, 16 figures, 6 tables. arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1109.5515, arXiv:hep-ex/0501010, arXiv:0910.2994 by other author

    Inelastic Neutron Scattering Studies of \u3csup\u3e76\u3c/sup\u3eGe and \u3csup\u3e76\u3c/sup\u3eSe: Relevance to Elevance to Neutrinoless Double-β Decay

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    Inelastic neutron scattering measurements were performed at the University of Kentucky Accelerator Laboratory on enriched 76Ge and 76Se scattering samples. From measurements at incident neutron energies from 2.0 to 4.0 MeV, many new levels were identified and characterized in each nucleus; level lifetimes, transition probabilities, multipole mixing ratios, and other properties were determined. In addition, γ-ray cross sections for the 76Ge(n,n′γ) reaction were measured at neutron energies up to 5.0 MeV, with the goal of determining the cross sections of γ rays in 2040-keV region, which corresponds to the region of interest in the neutrinoless double β decay of 76Ge. Gamma rays from the three strongest branches from the 3952-keV level were observed, but the previously reported 2041-keV γ ray was not. Population cross sections across the range of incident neutron energies were determined for the 3952-keV level, resulting in a cross section of ~0.1 mb for the 2041-keV branch using the previously determined branching ratios. Beyond this, the data from these experiments indicate that previously unreported γ rays from levels in 76Ge can be found in the 2039-keV region

    Probing particle and nuclear physics models of neutrinoless double beta decay with different nuclei

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    Half-life estimates for neutrinoless double beta decay depend on particle physics models for lepton flavor violation, as well as on nuclear physics models for the structure and transitions of candidate nuclei. Different models considered in the literature can be contrasted - via prospective data - with a "standard" scenario characterized by light Majorana neutrino exchange and by the quasiparticle random phase approximation, for which the theoretical covariance matrix has been recently estimated. We show that, assuming future half-life data in four promising nuclei (Ge-76, Se-82, Te-130, and Xe-136), the standard scenario can be distinguished from a few nonstandard physics models, while being compatible with alternative state-of-the-art nuclear calculations (at 95% C.L.). Future signals in different nuclei may thus help to discriminate at least some decay mechanisms, without being spoiled by current nuclear uncertainties. Prospects for possible improvements are also discussed.Comment: Minor corrections in the text, references added. Matches published version in Phys. Rev. D 80, 015024 (2009

    Neutrino-less Double Beta Decay and Particle Physics

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    We review the particle physics aspects of neutrino-less double beta decay. This process can be mediated by light massive Majorana neutrinos (standard interpretation) or by something else (non-standard interpretations). The physics potential of both interpretations is summarized and the consequences of future measurements or improved limits on the half-life of neutrino-less double beta decay are discussed. We try to cover all proposed alternative realizations of the decay, including light sterile neutrinos, supersymmetric or left-right symmetric theories, Majorons, and other exotic possibilities. Ways to distinguish the mechanisms from one another are discussed. Experimental and nuclear physics aspects are also briefly touched, alternative processes to double beta decay are discussed, and an extensive list of references is provided.Comment: 96 pages, 38 figures. Published versio