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Title: Discrepancy between experimental and theoretical β-decay rates resolved from first principles

Abstract

The dominant decay mode of atomic nuclei is beta decay (β-decay), a process that changes a neutron into a proton (and vice versa). This decay offers a window to physics beyond the standard model, and is at the heart of microphysical processes in stellar explosions and element synthesis in the Universe1,2,3. However, observed β-decay rates in nuclei have been found to be systematically smaller than for free neutrons: this 50-year-old puzzle about the apparent quenching of the fundamental coupling constant by a factor of about 0.75 (ref. 4) is without a first-principles theoretical explanation. Here, we demonstrate that this quenching arises to a large extent from the coupling of the weak force to two nucleons as well as from strong correlations in the nucleus. We present state-of-the-art computations of β-decays from light- and medium-mass nuclei to 100Sn by combining effective field theories of the strong and weak forces5 with powerful quantum many-body techniques6,7,8. Our results are consistent with experimental data and have implications for heavy element synthesis in neutron star mergers9,10,11 and predictions for the neutrino-less double-β-decay3, where an analogous quenching puzzle is a source of uncertainty in extracting the neutrino mass scale12.

Authors:
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Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF); Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) (SC-21); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Nuclear Physics (NP) (SC-26); USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1550732
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1501623; OSTI ID: 1568023
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-745901
Journal ID: ISSN 1745-2473
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; AC52-07NA27344; FG02-96ER40963; FG02-97ER41014; SC0008499; SC0018223; SC0015376
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature Physics; Journal ID: ISSN 1745-2473
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; Physics - Nuclear physics and radiation physics

Citation Formats

Gysbers, P., Hagen, G., Holt, J. D., Jansen, G. R., Morris, T. D., Navrátil, P., Papenbrock, T., Quaglioni, S., Schwenk, A., Stroberg, S. R., and Wendt, K. A. Discrepancy between experimental and theoretical β-decay rates resolved from first principles. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1038/s41567-019-0450-7.
Gysbers, P., Hagen, G., Holt, J. D., Jansen, G. R., Morris, T. D., Navrátil, P., Papenbrock, T., Quaglioni, S., Schwenk, A., Stroberg, S. R., & Wendt, K. A. Discrepancy between experimental and theoretical β-decay rates resolved from first principles. United States. doi:10.1038/s41567-019-0450-7.
Gysbers, P., Hagen, G., Holt, J. D., Jansen, G. R., Morris, T. D., Navrátil, P., Papenbrock, T., Quaglioni, S., Schwenk, A., Stroberg, S. R., and Wendt, K. A. Mon . "Discrepancy between experimental and theoretical β-decay rates resolved from first principles". United States. doi:10.1038/s41567-019-0450-7.
@article{osti_1550732,
title = {Discrepancy between experimental and theoretical β-decay rates resolved from first principles},
author = {Gysbers, P. and Hagen, G. and Holt, J. D. and Jansen, G. R. and Morris, T. D. and Navrátil, P. and Papenbrock, T. and Quaglioni, S. and Schwenk, A. and Stroberg, S. R. and Wendt, K. A.},
abstractNote = {The dominant decay mode of atomic nuclei is beta decay (β-decay), a process that changes a neutron into a proton (and vice versa). This decay offers a window to physics beyond the standard model, and is at the heart of microphysical processes in stellar explosions and element synthesis in the Universe1,2,3. However, observed β-decay rates in nuclei have been found to be systematically smaller than for free neutrons: this 50-year-old puzzle about the apparent quenching of the fundamental coupling constant by a factor of about 0.75 (ref. 4) is without a first-principles theoretical explanation. Here, we demonstrate that this quenching arises to a large extent from the coupling of the weak force to two nucleons as well as from strong correlations in the nucleus. We present state-of-the-art computations of β-decays from light- and medium-mass nuclei to 100Sn by combining effective field theories of the strong and weak forces5 with powerful quantum many-body techniques6,7,8. Our results are consistent with experimental data and have implications for heavy element synthesis in neutron star mergers9,10,11 and predictions for the neutrino-less double-β-decay3, where an analogous quenching puzzle is a source of uncertainty in extracting the neutrino mass scale12.},
doi = {10.1038/s41567-019-0450-7},
journal = {Nature Physics},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {3}
}

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