Steve Elliott, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Double Beta Decay: Is the Neutrino Mass Within Reach?
Physics Division Colloquium - 29 Mar. 2002

The recent demonstrations of oscillations in the atmospheric and solar neutrino data convincingly indicate that neutrinos do have mass. Those data however, do not tell us the absolute mass scale but only the differences of the square of the neutrino masses. Even so, we now know that at least one neutrino has a mass of about 50 meV or larger.

Studies of double beta decay rates offer hope for determining the absolute mass scale. In particular, zero-neutrino double beta decay (\beta \beta (0 \nu)) can address the issues of lepton number conservation, the particle-antiparticle nature of the neutrino, and its mass. In fact, the next generation of \beta \beta (0 \nu) experiments will be sensitive to neutrino masses in the exciting range below 50 meV. An overview of \beta \beta (0 \nu) and its relation to neutrino mass will be discussed followed by a profile of a proposed experiment.

ANL Physics Division Colloquium Schedule