Joint Seminar in Nuclear Physics: Double beta decay and the neutrino mass
Francesco Iachello, Yale University
A special colloquium dedicated to Igal Talmi on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
The question of whether or not the neutrino is a Majorana particle and, if so, what is its average mass remains one of the most fundamental problems in physics today. The average neutrino mass can be obtained from neutrinoless double beta decay. The inverse half-life for this process is given by the product of a phase space factor (PSF), a nuclear matrix element (NME) and whatever physics there is beyond the standard model. In this talk, the theory of double beta decay, both with and without the emission of neutrinos, will be reviewed, and recent calculations of the PSF and NME will be presented. From these and from experimental limits on the half-life of neutrinoless double beta decay, one can extract limits on the neutrino mass, both for the exchange of light (m¦Í¨¢1MeV) and heavy (m¦Í¨¤1GeV) neutrinos.
Current limits will be discussed.