EXO - A Search for Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay in Xenon

Speaker: 
David Sinclair (Carleton University and TRIUMF)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-01-12 14:00
Location: 
TRIUMF Auditorium
Neutrinoless double beta decay offers a window on some unique and important properties of the neutrino. This process is only possible if neutrinos are Majorana particles which is of great theoretical interest. The observation would provide a determination of the mass scale for neutrinos which would provide a laboratory measurement to complement the cosmological determinations. However, the measurement is extremely difficult. This talk will describe the EXO experiment which is searching for this process in xenon. The collaboration has recently announced the observation for the first time of the two neutrino decay of 136Xe which sets the record for the lowest rate nuclear decay mode ever directly detected. The talk will explain the progress made to date and will look at the application of nuclear physics techniques to extract and measure the daughter barium ion as a way of controlling the background and allowing a much more sensitive search to be contemplated.
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