skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Measurement of the neutron lifetime using a magneto-gravitational trap and in situ detection

Abstract

Here, the precise value of the mean neutron lifetime, τn, plays an important role in nuclear and particle physics and cosmology. It is used to predict the ratio of protons to helium atoms in the primordial universe and to search for physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. We eliminated loss mechanisms present in previous trap experiments by levitating polarized ultracold neutrons above the surface of an asymmetric storage trap using a repulsive magnetic field gradient so that the stored neutrons do not interact with material trap walls. As a result of this approach and the use of an in situ neutron detector, the lifetime reported here [877.7 ± 0.7 (stat) +0.4/–0.2 (sys) seconds] does not require corrections larger than the quoted uncertainties.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [6];  [7]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [8]; ORCiD logo [9]; ORCiD logo [1];  [10]; ORCiD logo [11];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1] more »; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [12]; ORCiD logo [1];  [13];  [14]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [6];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [5];  [1]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [3] « less
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN (United States)
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Triangle Univ. Nuclear and North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  5. Triangle Univ. Nuclear and North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
  6. Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States)
  7. West Point Military Academy, West Point, NY (United States)
  8. Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble (France)
  9. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
  10. Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville, TN (United States)
  11. DePauw Univ., Greencastle, IN (United States)
  12. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
  13. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  14. Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Moscow region (Russia)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States). Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Nuclear Physics (NP) (SC-26); USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program; National Science Foundation (NSF); National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
OSTI Identifier:
1436834
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1437921; OSTI ID: 1440434
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-24449
Journal ID: ISSN 0036-8075; TRN: US1900359
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; FG02-97ER41042; AC52-06NA25396; 20140568DR; 8215; 130692; 1307426; 161454; 1306997; 1553861
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 360; Journal Issue: 6389; Journal ID: ISSN 0036-8075
Publisher:
AAAS
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; Atomic and Nuclear Physics

Citation Formats

Pattie, Jr., R. W., Callahan, N. B., Cude-Woods, C., Adamek, E. R., Broussard, Leah J., Clayton, S. M., Currie, S. A., Dees, E. B., Ding, Xinjian, Engel, E. M., Fellers, D. E., Fox, W., Geltenbort, P., Hickerson, K. P., Hoffbauer, M. A., Holley, A. T., Komives, A., Liu, C. -Y., MacDonald, S. W. T., Makela, M., Morris, C. L., Ortiz, J. D., Ramsey, J., Salvat, D. J., Saunders, A., Seestrom, S. J., Sharapov, E. I., Sjue, S. K., Tang, Z., Vanderwerp, J., Vogelaar, B., Walstrom, P. L., Wang, Z., Wei, W., Weaver, H. L., Wexler, J. W., Womack, T. L., Young, A. R., and Zeck, Bryan A. Measurement of the neutron lifetime using a magneto-gravitational trap and in situ detection. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1126/science.aan8895.
Pattie, Jr., R. W., Callahan, N. B., Cude-Woods, C., Adamek, E. R., Broussard, Leah J., Clayton, S. M., Currie, S. A., Dees, E. B., Ding, Xinjian, Engel, E. M., Fellers, D. E., Fox, W., Geltenbort, P., Hickerson, K. P., Hoffbauer, M. A., Holley, A. T., Komives, A., Liu, C. -Y., MacDonald, S. W. T., Makela, M., Morris, C. L., Ortiz, J. D., Ramsey, J., Salvat, D. J., Saunders, A., Seestrom, S. J., Sharapov, E. I., Sjue, S. K., Tang, Z., Vanderwerp, J., Vogelaar, B., Walstrom, P. L., Wang, Z., Wei, W., Weaver, H. L., Wexler, J. W., Womack, T. L., Young, A. R., & Zeck, Bryan A. Measurement of the neutron lifetime using a magneto-gravitational trap and in situ detection. United States. doi:10.1126/science.aan8895.
Pattie, Jr., R. W., Callahan, N. B., Cude-Woods, C., Adamek, E. R., Broussard, Leah J., Clayton, S. M., Currie, S. A., Dees, E. B., Ding, Xinjian, Engel, E. M., Fellers, D. E., Fox, W., Geltenbort, P., Hickerson, K. P., Hoffbauer, M. A., Holley, A. T., Komives, A., Liu, C. -Y., MacDonald, S. W. T., Makela, M., Morris, C. L., Ortiz, J. D., Ramsey, J., Salvat, D. J., Saunders, A., Seestrom, S. J., Sharapov, E. I., Sjue, S. K., Tang, Z., Vanderwerp, J., Vogelaar, B., Walstrom, P. L., Wang, Z., Wei, W., Weaver, H. L., Wexler, J. W., Womack, T. L., Young, A. R., and Zeck, Bryan A. Fri . "Measurement of the neutron lifetime using a magneto-gravitational trap and in situ detection". United States. doi:10.1126/science.aan8895.
@article{osti_1436834,
title = {Measurement of the neutron lifetime using a magneto-gravitational trap and in situ detection},
author = {Pattie, Jr., R. W. and Callahan, N. B. and Cude-Woods, C. and Adamek, E. R. and Broussard, Leah J. and Clayton, S. M. and Currie, S. A. and Dees, E. B. and Ding, Xinjian and Engel, E. M. and Fellers, D. E. and Fox, W. and Geltenbort, P. and Hickerson, K. P. and Hoffbauer, M. A. and Holley, A. T. and Komives, A. and Liu, C. -Y. and MacDonald, S. W. T. and Makela, M. and Morris, C. L. and Ortiz, J. D. and Ramsey, J. and Salvat, D. J. and Saunders, A. and Seestrom, S. J. and Sharapov, E. I. and Sjue, S. K. and Tang, Z. and Vanderwerp, J. and Vogelaar, B. and Walstrom, P. L. and Wang, Z. and Wei, W. and Weaver, H. L. and Wexler, J. W. and Womack, T. L. and Young, A. R. and Zeck, Bryan A.},
abstractNote = {Here, the precise value of the mean neutron lifetime, τn, plays an important role in nuclear and particle physics and cosmology. It is used to predict the ratio of protons to helium atoms in the primordial universe and to search for physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. We eliminated loss mechanisms present in previous trap experiments by levitating polarized ultracold neutrons above the surface of an asymmetric storage trap using a repulsive magnetic field gradient so that the stored neutrons do not interact with material trap walls. As a result of this approach and the use of an in situ neutron detector, the lifetime reported here [877.7 ± 0.7 (stat) +0.4/–0.2 (sys) seconds] does not require corrections larger than the quoted uncertainties.},
doi = {10.1126/science.aan8895},
journal = {Science},
number = 6389,
volume = 360,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {5}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8895

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 15 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Spin flip loss in magnetic confinement of ultracold neutrons for neutron lifetime experiments
journal, March 2017


Total cross sections for ultracold neutrons scattered from gases
journal, January 2017


Big bang nucleosynthesis: Present status
journal, February 2016


Colloquium : The neutron lifetime
journal, November 2011


Demonstration of a solid deuterium source of ultra-cold neutrons
journal, July 2004


A magneto-gravitational trap for absolute measurement of the ultra-cold neutron lifetime
journal, February 2009

  • Walstrom, P. L.; Bowman, J. D.; Penttila, S. I.
  • Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, Vol. 599, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2008.11.010

Storage of ultracold neutrons in the magneto-gravitational trap of the UCN τ experiment
journal, May 2014


Neutron lifetime measurements using gravitationally trapped ultracold neutrons
journal, September 2008


Magnetic storage of UCN for a measurement of the neutron lifetime
journal, December 2009

  • Ezhov, V. F.; Andreev, A. Z.; Ban, G.
  • Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, Vol. 611, Issue 2-3
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2009.07.071

A revised value for the neutron lifetime measured using a Penning trap
journal, January 1996


Neutron lifetime measurement with the UCN trap-in-trap MAMBO II
journal, October 2010


Improved Determination of the Neutron Lifetime
journal, November 2013


Fundamental Neutron Physics
journal, January 2014


Beta decay measurements with ultracold neutrons: a review of recent measurements and the research program at Los Alamos National Laboratory
journal, October 2014

  • Young, A. R.; Clayton, S.; Filippone, B. W.
  • Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Vol. 41, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1088/0954-3899/41/11/114007

A new method for measuring the neutron lifetime using an in situ neutron detector
journal, May 2017

  • Morris, C. L.; Adamek, E. R.; Broussard, L. J.
  • Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol. 88, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.4983578

A multilayer surface detector for ultracold neutrons
journal, October 2015

  • Wang, Zhehui; Hoffbauer, M. A.; Morris, C. L.
  • Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, Vol. 798
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2015.07.010

Upscattering of ultracold neutrons from gases
journal, December 2015


Performance of the Los Alamos National Laboratory spallation-driven solid-deuterium ultra-cold neutron source
journal, January 2013

  • Saunders, A.; Makela, M.; Bagdasarova, Y.
  • Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol. 84, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.4770063