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Title:The search for majoron emission in xenon-136 and two-neutrino double-beta decay of xenon-134 with the Enriched Xenon Observatory
Author(s):Walton, Josiah
Director of Research:Yang, Liang
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Stack, John
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Peng, Jen-Chieh; Eckstein, James
Department / Program:Physics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):neutrinoless double-beta decay
liquid xenon
Abstract:Despite neutrino oscillation experiments firmly establishing neutrinos have non-zero mass, the absolute mass scale is unknown. Moreover, it's unknown whether the neutrino is distinguishable from its antiparticle. The most promising approach for measuring the neutrino mass scale and answering the issue of neutrino-antineutrino distinguishability is by searching for neutrinoless double-beta decay, a very rare theorized process not allowed under the current theoretical framework of particle physics. Positive observation of neutrinoless double-beta decay would usher in a revolution in particle physics, since it would determine the neutrino mass scale, establish that neutrinos and antineutrinos are indistinguishable, and that the particle physics conservation law of total lepton number is violated in nature. The latter two consequences are particularly salient, as they lead to potential explanations of neutrino mass generation and the observed large asymmetry of matter over antimatter in the universe. The Enriched Xenon Observatory (EXO-200) is an international collaboration searching for the neutrinoless double-beta decay of the isotope 136Xe. EXO-200 operates a unique world-class low-radioactivity detector containing 110 kg of liquified xenon isotopically enriched to 80.6% in 136Xe. Recently, EXO-200 published the most precise two-neutrino double-beta decay half-life ever measured and one of the strongest limits on the half-life of the neutrinoless double-beta decay mode of 136Xe. This work presents an improved experimental search for the majoron-mediated neutrinoless double-beta decay modes of 136Xe and a novel search for the yet unobserved two neutrino double-beta decay of 134Xe.
Issue Date:2016-02-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Josiah Walton
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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