Quantum Physics

The CUORE experiment helps us understand the origins of matter.

We do not yet know a great deal about neutrinos. Neutrinos are exceptionally light, chargeless, and tricky particles that are engaged in a cycle called beta rot. The universe’s origin of matter may be revealed by comprehending this process.

Beta rot is a sort of radioactive rot that includes a neutron changing over into a proton, transmitting an electron, and an antineutrino. Beta decay occurs approximately a dozen times per second in bananas, for example, and is extremely common. There could likewise be a super intriguing sort of beta rot that radiates two electrons but no neutrinos.

This neutrinoless double beta decay (NLDBD) in various nuclei is being sought out by nuclear physicists all over the world. The potential for these decays to shed light on unsolved mysteries regarding the formation of matter in the universe is what draws people’s attention to them. Additionally, they may offer clues to our comprehension of the neutrino mass, which is currently unknown.

The Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Intriguing Occasions (CUORE) can look for these uncommon NLDBD processes utilizing various cores. In order to gain a deeper comprehension of the underlying physics, researchers rely on complementarity between searches utilizing distinct nuclei. In physics, complementarity refers to theories that contradict one another but both explain a portion of the same phenomena.

Tellurim-128, a nucleus that had not previously been studied with CUORE, was used in the most recent CUORE search for NLDBD. So far, the researchers haven’t found any evidence that NLDBD exists. They demonstrate, however, that Tellurim-128’s half-life to NLDBD decay is greater than 3.6 septillion years (ultra-rare decays have extremely long half-lives). This lower limit is approximately 30 times higher than the values found in previous experiments that utilized the same method. Scientists have learned more about these rare nuclear decays thanks to this new investigation. The discoveries are distributed in actual audit letters.

CUORE is one of the world’s leading investigations looking for incredibly interesting atomic cycles. Gran Sasso Mountain, which protects the experiment from cosmic rays, and extremely clean materials provide the low-radioactivity environment required by CUORE. A dedicated refrigeration structure keeps the nearly 1,000 crystals in CUORE at a temperature close to zero degrees Celsius. The crystals’ temperature is measured one thousand times per second, saved to disk, and analyzed to identify the minute temperature variations brought on by rare decays.

CUORE has accumulated a significant amount of data since its inception in 2017, and it will continue for at least two more years. Analysts expect improved performance to bring about the quest for NLDBD processes on the core Tellurim-128 soon. Through the investigation of these elusive processes, the subsequent generation of experiments following CUORE has the potential to unravel several nuclear and particle physics mysteries.

More information: D. Q. Adams et al, New Direct Limit on Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay Half-Life of Te128 with CUORE, Physical Review Letters (2022). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.129.222501

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