Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Queen's University
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Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Observation of Two-Neutrino Double-Beta Decay in 136Xe: First EXO Results in the Search for Neutrino-less Decay

Jacques Farine
Laurentian University

Friday, October 21, 2011
1:30 PM @ Stirling A


The Enriched Xenon Observatory (EXO) collaboration has observed the two-neutrino double beta decay of 136Xe with EXO-200, a prototype to the full EXO detector in development. This second-order process, predicted by the Standard Model, has been observed for several nuclei but not for 136Xe. The observed decay rate provides new input to matrix element calculations and to the search for the more interesting neutrino-less double-beta decay, the most sensitive probe for the existence of Majorana particles and the measurement of the neutrino mass scale.

The motivation to search for neutrino-less double-beta decay will be discussed. An overview of experimental efforts, and the status of calculations of nuclear matrix elements will be given. The EXO-200 detector and underground site at WIPP, New Mexico, will be presented, and the observation of the two-neutrino decay discussed. The presentation will then focus on the development of EXO Full, a multi-tonne detector with the ability to identify the daughter ion as a powerful background reduction tool, with SNOLAB a possible site.

Refreshments will be available before the talk.