Fascinating puzzle called double beta decay
Kotila, Jenni (2019). Fascinating puzzle called double beta decay. In Maruyama, Reina (Eds.) Symmetries and Order : Algebraic Methods in Many Body Systems : A symposium in celebration of the career of Professor Francesco Iachello, AIP Conference Proceedings, 2150. American Institute of Physics, 020009. DOI: 10.1063/1.5124581
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The question of whether neutrinos are Majorana or Dirac particles and what are their average masses remains one of the most fundamental problems in physics today. Observation of neutrinoless double beta decay (0νββ) would verify the Majorana nature of the neutrino and constrain the absolute scale of the neutrino mass spectrum. The inverse half-life for 0νββ-decay is given by the product of a phase space factor (PSF), a nuclear matrix element (NME), which both rely on theoretical description, and a function f containing the physics beyond the standard model. Recent calculations of PSF and NME will be reviewed together with comparison to other available results. These calculations serve the purpose of extracting the average neutrino mass if 0νββ-decay is observed, and of guiding searches if 0νββ-decay is not observed. The current situation is then discussed by combining the theoretical results with experimental limits on the half-life of neutrinoless double beta decay. The extracted limits on the average light neutrino mass will be addressed, complemented with a discussion of other possible 0νββ-decay mechanisms and scenarios. ...