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Double beta decay

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Double beta decay is a rare nuclear process changing the nuclear charge by two units leaving atomic number unchanged. The detection of the neutrino accompanied mode (A,Z)→(A,Z + 2) + 2e +  with half-lives around 1020 years is among the rarest decays ever observed. Of outmost importance for particle physics and especially neutrino physics, is the neutrinoless mode (A,Z)→(A,Z + 2) + 2e. This process is violating lepton number by two units and requires massive Majorana neutrinos, i.e. neutrino and antineutrino are identical. The current experimental status is reviewed and an outlook towards future activities is given.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00107510412331283540

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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