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Departmental Colloquium


EXO - The Enriched Xenon Observatory for the search of neutrinoless double beta decay of 136Xe

Jacques Farine
Laurentian University

Time
 
Wed. March 8, 2006     1:00 PM     Stirling C

Abstract
 
The goal of the Enriched Xenon Observatory (EXO) is to search for neutrinoless double beta decay of 136Xe up to a half-live of 5 x 10E28 yr, corresponding to a sensitivity to the effective neutrino mass m_eff of >~ 10 meV. EXO-200 is a 200 kg liquid xenon (LXe) TPC prototype detector for EXO, currently under construction. The LXe is enriched to 80% in 136Xe and is already at hand. EXO-200 will be the largest running double-beta decay experiment and will provide an accurate measurement of the allowed, yet not convincingly observed two neutrino double beta transition. EXO-200 will allow researching low radioactivity building materials, optimizing the performance and operation of a large-scale xenon detector, and studying some of its crucial parameters, such as energy resolution. In parallel to the operation of EXO-200, EXO is researching the extraction and tagging of the double beta decay progeny, 136Ba, which promises a substantial leap in background rejection. A summary of the history of the neutrino will be given. The open questions in neutrino physics will be discussed, and the path to discovery chosen by EXO will be presented. An update on the status of EXO-200 will be given.

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