APEC Seminar (Astronomy - Particle Physics - Experimental Physics - Cosmology)

Speaker: Jason Detwiler (University of Washington)
Title: The Quest for Neutrinoless Double-Beta Decay
Date: Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 13:30 - 14:30
Place: Seminar Room A
Related File: 1925.pdf
Abstract: The discovery of neutrino mass opened up the possibility that the neutrino could be a Majorana field. Majorana neutrinos are generically predicted by large classes of beyond-the-Standard-Model theories, and would indicate that lepton number is not a conserved quantity in nature, with implications for the matter-dominance of the universe. At present the best way to probe such neutrino-mediated lepton number violation is to search for neutrinoless double-beta decay, a rare nuclear process in which two betas are emitted without any accompanying antiparticles. A broad international campaign is underway to hunt for this process in different nuclear systems using different experimental techniques, with strong opportunity for discovery in current- and next-generation experiments. These techniques range from high resolution, low-background detectors, such as the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, GERDA, and their follow-on LEGEND, to lower-resolution but very high mass detectors, such as KamLAND-Zen, with many promising alternatives in between. I will discuss the current status and future prospects for the MAJORANA/LEGEND and KamLAND-Zen experiments (in which I participate), and highlight the surprisingly high discovery power for their next and future operational phases.