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Current Seminars

Unveiling the Secrets of the Neutrinos Through Double Beta Decay

  • Dr. Andrei Neacsu, Department of Physics, Central Michgian University
  • November 14, 2017
  • 4pm in Dow 109

Abstract:   Neutrino physics has been a subject of research for almost a century, was awarded Nobel Prizes, and has revolutionized our understanding of particle physics, nuclear structure, and nuclear reactions. Yet, there are still elusive properties of neutrinos that have yet to be determined, of which the most important ones are related to their absolute and their nature, determining if they are they Dirac or Majorana particles. 

Recent neutrino oscillation experiments have established that active neutrinos have mass, but their methods can measure only squared mass differences that can be observed when neutrinos change flavor in flight. To this day, the most adequate way to approach the problem of their absolute mass, mass hierarchy, and their nature is through the experimental confirmation of neutrinoless double beta decay. While the two-neutrino double beta process has already been measured in about a dozen isotopes and it is explained through the current form of the Standard Model (SM) of Particle Physics, the neutrinoless one has not been observed and requires extensions to the SM. Based on the available theoretical calculations, constraints from cosmology, from high energy physics experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and from the ongoing experiments dedicated to the neutrinoless double beta decay of about five isotopes, the half-life estimations are very high. The current and future neutrinoless double beta decay experiments are large-scale and very expensive, thus requiring very accurate calculations to aid the experimental effort and aim for the best outcome.

In this seminar, I shall discuss some of the challenges encountered when performing  calculations related to the neutrinoless double beta decay, present the work of our group for advancing the theoretical calculations, and show several possible ways to extract more information about the neutrinos in the case when this transition is experimentally measured and accurate half-lives are obtained.