Manchester Particle Physics Seminars, Colloquia and Meetings

Andrew Laing: Double beta decay and the NEXT experiment

Friday, 25 October 2019 from to (Europe/London)
at Schuster ( 54-6-6.40 - Niels Bohr Common Room )
One of the most important questions in modern particle physics concerns the fundamental nature of the neutrino, are they Dirac or Majorana fermions? Experimentally, the most feasible way to differentiate the two possibilities is by observing neutrinoless double beta decay. If this decay can be shown to take place it would be a clear indication of the Majorana nature of the neutrino.
In this seminar I will give an overview of the field before introducing the NEXT experiment. NEXT searches for the neutrinoless double beta decay of 136Xe using a gas phase TPC. Using electroluminescent amplification of the ionisation signal and topological reconstruction, NEXT is able to achieve energy resolution of better than 1% FWHM while rejecting potential backgrounds from natural radioisotopes in the detector materials. I will present the recent results from the experimental programme at Laboratorio Subterra ́aneo de Canfranc (LSC) as well as discussing the next steps in the programme, future prospects for virtually background-free experiments, and the impact of an observation.