Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Physics Division

Physics Division Seminars

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,

Alfredo Galindo-Uribarri
Tel (Office): (865) 574-6124  (FAX): (865) 574-1268


Wed., February 22, 2017, at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

A Distant Voice in the Darkness: Searching for Neutrinoless Double-Beta Decay with the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR

Benjamin E. Shanks, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
ORNL, Bldg. 6008 Large Conference Room

The universe today is dominated by matter over antimatter, but why remains a mystery. The observation of neutrinoless double-beta decay would prove that lepton number is not a conserved quantity, which could explain the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry. However, if it occurs, 0vBB must be exceedingly rare, with current half-life limits over 10^24 years. Measuring a process with such a faint signal requires extraordinary efforts to eliminate backgrounds. The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR is a search for neutrinoless double beta decay of germanium-76 with the goal of “demonstrating" backgrounds low enough to justify building a larger experiment with ~1 tonne of isotope. I will review the design and background reduction strategies of the DEMONSTRATOR, show the present background and physics results, and comment on strategies to use advanced model-based signal processing methods to further reduce backgrounds as we look toward the tonne scale.

Contact: Alfredo Galindo-Uribarri, (865) 574-6124