Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Search For Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay

This is a nice and simple article on why we are searching for the neutrinoless double-beta decay.

In this new study, physicists are seeking so-called neutrinoless double-beta decay. Normally, some radioactive atoms' unstable nuclei will lose a neutron via beta decay — the neutron transforms into a proton by releasing an electron and a tiny particle called an electron antineutrino. A mirror image can also occur, in which a proton turns into a neutron, releasing a positron and an electron neutrino — the normal-matter counterpart to the antineutrino. Double-beta decay happens when two electrons and two antineutrinos (the antimatter counterparts of neutrinos) are released: basically, the beta decay happens twice. Scientists have long theorized a neutrinoless version of this process — something that would suggest that the two neutrinos annihilated each other before being released from the atom. Essentially, the neutrino behaves as its own antimatter sibling.

A large portion of high-energy physics experiments around the world are done using neutrinos (Daya Bay, MINOS, NOvA, SuperK, etc...).  It won't surprise me one bit that the another major discovery will be made with these particles.


No comments: