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Title

Sense and sensitivity of double beta decay experiments

AuthorsGómez Cadenas, Juan José ; Martín-Albo, Justo ; Sorel, Michel ; Ferrario, Paola ; Monrabal, Francesc ; Muñoz Vidal, Javier; Novella, Pau ; Poves, Alfredo
KeywordsNeutrino experiments
Double beta decay
Neutrino properties
Issue DateJun-2011
PublisherInstitute of Physics Publishing
CitationJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 06: 007 (2011)
AbstractThe search for neutrinoless double beta decay is a very active field in which the number of proposals for next-generation experiments has proliferated. In this paper we attempt to address both the sense and the sensitivity of such proposals. Sensitivity comes first, by means of proposing a simple and unambiguous statistical recipe to derive the sensitivity to a putative Majorana neutrino mass, mββ. In order to make sense of how the different experimental approaches compare, we apply this recipe to a selection of proposals, comparing the resulting sensitivities. We also propose a ``physics-motivated range'' (PMR) of the nuclear matrix elements as a unifying criterium between the different nuclear models. The expected performance of the proposals is parametrized in terms of only four numbers: energy resolution, background rate (per unit time, isotope mass and energy), detection efficiency, and ββ isotope mass. For each proposal, both a reference and an optimistic scenario for the experimental performance are studied. In the reference scenario we find that all the proposals will be able to partially explore the degenerate spectrum, without fully covering it, although four of them (KamLAND-Zen, CUORE, NEXT and EXO) will approach the 50 meV boundary. In the optimistic scenario, we find that CUORE and the xenon-based proposals (KamLAND-Zen, EXO and NEXT) will explore a significant fraction of the inverse hierarchy, with NEXT covering it almost fully. For the long term future, we argue that 136Xe-based experiments may provide the best case for a 1-ton scale experiment, given the potentially very low backgrounds achievable and the expected scalability to large isotope masses.
DescriptionEl Pdf del artículo es la versión pre-print: arXiv:1010.5112v4
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1475-7516/2011/06/007
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/42860
DOI10.1088/1475-7516/2011/06/007
ISSN1475-7516
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