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This Week at Physics

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Event Number 5164

  Monday, September 9th, 2019

NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum
Towards the Atomic Tritium Future of Neutrino Mass Measurement
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin (if available)
Speaker: Walter Pettus, University of Washington
Abstract: Neutrino flavor oscillations provided the first break in the Standard Model by proving that neutrinos have nonzero mass, but cannot constrain the absolute mass scale. The most sensitive method to directly measure the mass scale is observation of the tritium beta-decay spectrum endpoint and extraction of the electron antineutrino mass. Project 8 is a next-generation experiment based on the novel Cyclotron Radiation Emission Spectroscopy (CRES) technique to perform a radio-frequency-based measurement of the tritium beta spectrum. The goal of the phased program is to reach a mass sensitivity below 40 meV, completely covering the allowed region of the inverted mass hierarchy. I will present studies performed on the mono-energetic conversion electrons of 83mKr and the ongoing tritium data-taking campaign, which is the first use of the CRES technique for a continuous spectrum measurement. In parallel, an R&D program is being executed to to demonstrate critical technologies for scaling CRES to m^3-scale volumes and for delivering a high-intensity atomic tritium source, establishing a pathway for future experiments based on this technology.
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