Shell-model analysis of the Xe136 double beta decay nuclear matrix elements

M. Horoi, B. A. Brown

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Neutrinoless double beta decay, if observed, could distinguish whether the neutrino is a Dirac or a Majorana particle, and it could be used to determine the absolute scale of the neutrino masses. Xe136 is one of the most promising candidates for observing this rare event. However, until recently there were no positive results for the allowed and less rare two-neutrino double beta decay mode. The small nuclear matrix element associated with the long half-life represents a challenge for nuclear structure models used for its calculation. We report a new shell-model analysis of the two-neutrino double beta decay of Xe136, which takes into account all relevant nuclear orbitals necessary to fully describe the associated Gamow-Teller strength. We further use the new model to analyze the main contributions to the neutrinoless double beta decay matrix element, and show that they are also diminished.

Original languageEnglish
Article number222502
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 30 2013


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