Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
nEXO and the future of neutrinoless double beta decay
Presented by Brian Lenardo, Sanford
The discovery that neutrinos have nonzero, but inexplicably small, masses is a hint that these particles may hold a key to unlocking physics beyond the Standard Model. In this talk, I will discuss the search for neutrinoless double beta decay (0???), a proposed form of radioactive decay which is only possible if neutrinos and antineutrinos are their own antiparticles. Such a discovery would immediately demonstrate new physics, specifically establishing a) violation of lepton number conservation, currently thought to be a fundamental symmetry of particle interactions, b) the generation of neutrino masses by a mechanism other than the Higgs, and c) possible connections between neutrino interactions and the dominance of matter over antimatter in the universe. These exciting possibilities have motivated a worldwide program to search for 0??? using a variety of experimental techniques. In this talk, I will describe the next generation of these experiments, focusing in particular on the nEXO experiment. nEXO is designed to push two orders of magnitude beyond the reach of current experiments, which requires the ability to detect just one 0??? decay event per year in a volume of ~10^28 atoms. I will describe how nEXO will meet the stringent low-background requirements needed to achieve this exquisite sensitivity, then discuss how its unique capabilities may enable other possible science in the field of particle astrophysics. I will close with a discussion on scaling up the techniques used by nEXO to enable beyond-the-next-generation searches for new physics.
Individuals with disabilities who need an auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in P&A events should contact the Physics Department (phone: 505-277-2616, email: firstname.lastname@example.org) well in advance to ensure your needs are accomodated. Event handouts can be provided in alternative accessible formats upon request. Please contact the Physics front office if you need written information in an alternative format.
A schedule of talks within the Department of Physics and Astronomy is available on the P&A web site at http://physics.unm.edu/pandaweb/events/index.php