Relativistic cyclotron radiation detection of tritium decay electrons as a new technique for measuring the neutrino mass
Author(s)Monreal, Benjamin; Formaggio, Joseph A.
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The shape of the beta-decay energy distribution is sensitive to the mass of the electron neutrino. Attempts to measure the endpoint shape of tritium decay have so far seen no distortion from the zero-mass form, thus placing an upper limit of mνβ<2.3 eV. Here, we show that a new type of electron energy spectroscopy could improve future measurements of this spectrum and therefore of the neutrino mass. We propose to detect the coherent cyclotron radiation emitted by an energetic electron in a magnetic field. For mildly relativistic electrons, like those in tritium decay, the relativistic shift of the cyclotron frequency allows us to extract the electron energy from the emitted radiation. We present calculations for the energy resolution, noise limits, high-rate measurement capability, and systematic errors expected in such an experiment.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Laboratory for Nuclear Science
Physical Review D
American Physical Society
Monreal, Benjamin , and Joseph A. Formaggio. “Relativistic cyclotron radiation detection of tritium decay electrons as a new technique for measuring the neutrino mass.” Physical Review D 80.5 (2009): 051301. (C) 2010 The American Physical Society.
Final published version