Physics Division Seminars bring us speakers on a variety of physics related subjects. Usually these are held in the Building 6008 large Conference Room, at 3:00 pm on the chosen day, but times and locations may vary. For more information, contact our seminar chairman,
Tel (Office): (865) 574-6124 (FAX): (865) 574-1268
With the definitive evidence for neutrino oscillations collected in the last decade, we now believe that neutrino masses are non-zero. Oscillation measurements, however, only measure mass differences and give us little information about the absolute values of neutrino masses.
The hypothetical phenomenon of neutrino-less double-beta decay can probe the neutrino mass scale with exquisite sensitivity. This process, if observed, would also imply that neutrinos, unlike all other spin-1/2 particles, are of the Majorana type, that is they have wave functions with only two components. The observation of the neutrino-less double-beta decay would also imply the non-conservation of the lepton number.
Following the well-known principle that there is no free lunch in life, interesting half-lives for neutrino-less double-beta decay exceed 1025 years (or ~1015 times the age of the Universe) making experiments rather challenging. I will describe the EXO program, including the recent measurements by EXO-200 that establish the present state of the art and the plans for a 5-ton enriched Xe detector, nEXO, that will have a sensitivity to Majorana masses below 10 meV.
Contact: Alfredo Galindo-Uribarri, (865) 574-6124