Weak Decay of Hypernuclei


The focus of these Lectures is on the weak decay modes of hypernuclei, with special attention to Lambda-hypernuclei. The subject involves many fields of modern theoretical and experimental physics, from nuclear structure to the fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions. The various weak decay modes of Lambda-hypernuclei are described: the mesonic mode and the non-mesonic ones. The latter are the dominant decay channels of medium--heavy hypernuclei, where, on the contrary, the mesonic decay is disfavoured by Pauli blocking effect on the outgoing nucleon. In particular, one can distinguish between one-body and two-body induced decays. Theoretical models employed to evaluate the (partial and total) decay widths of hypernuclei are illustrated, and their results compared with existing experimental data. Open problems and recent achievements are extensively discussed, in particular the determination of the ratio Gamma_n/Gamma_p, possible tests of the Delta I=1/2 rule in non-mesonic decays and the puzzling asymmetric non-mesonic decay of polarized hypernuclei.Comment: 59 pages, 13 figures Lectures given at the International School of Physics "Enrico Fermi" Course on: HADRON PHYSICS, Varenna (Lake Como), June 22nd - July 2nd, 200

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