Current and future searches for neutrinoless double beta decay

Michelle Dolinski, Assistant Professor of Physics, Drexel University



With the discovery of neutrino oscillations and neutrino mass, the field of experimental neutrino physics has exploded in recent years. It is an experimentally open question whether or not neutrinos have distinct antiparticles, and the answer is directly related to the origin of neutrino mass. The observation of neutrinoless double beta decay, a non-Standard Model version of a rare nuclear process, would prove that neutrinos are their own antiparticles. Neutrinoless double beta decay experiments deploy large source masses consisting of a select few (usually enriched) isotopes of interest. Detectors must achieve extremely low levels of radioactive background to detect this rare decay. I will report on recent searches for neutrinoless double beta decay, including the EXO-200 experiment, a liquid xenon time projection chamber. I will also discuss research toward nEXO, a planned next generation neutrinoless double beta decay experiment, and efforts to understand the microscopic physics of liquid xenon detectors.