Particle Physics Seminar

"Precision Measurements of Asymmetries and Spectra in Neutron Decay"

Presented by Brad Plaster, University of Kentucky

Thursday, March 15, 2018, 3:00 pm — Small Seminar Room, Bldg. 510

Precision measurements of various asymmetries in neutron decay permit an extraction of the weak axial-vector coupling constant, gA, a fundamental quantity important for weak-interaction physics and as a benchmark for lattice QCD calculations. I will discuss a recent new result from the UCNA Experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory for a 0.16% precision result on gA from a measurement of the 'A' asymmetry, which represents the parity-violating angular correlation between the neutron's spin and the decay electron's momentum. This long-standing effort was carried out with a superconducting solenoidal electron spectrometer at the LANL Ultracold Neutron (UCN) facility. This new result will be placed in the context of historical results for gA and recent discrepant values for the neutron lifetime obtained via different experimental techniques. I will also discuss the first-ever extraction of the Fierz interference term 'b' in free neutron decay from an analysis of the electron's spectral shape as measured in the UCNA Experiment. A non-zero 'b' term would result from beyond-Standard Model interactions, such as Scalar or Tensor physics. Although the result for 'b' from the UCNA Experiment was systematics limited, it points to the requisite significant improvements in the characterization of the detector energy response that future experiments aimed at a measurement of 'b' will need to achieve in order to probe beyond Standard Model physics at a competitive precision.

Hosted by: Chao Zhang

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