Presenter: Christopher M. O'Shaughnessy
Advisor(s): Paul Huffman
Author(s): C.M. O'Shaughnessy, F.H. Dubose, R. Golub, P.R. Huffman, E. Korobkina, G.R. Palmquist, P.-N. Seo, L. Yang, J.M. Doyle, A.K. Thompson, P. Mumm, K.J. Coakley, S.K. Lamoreaux
Graduate Program: Physics

Title: Measuring the Neutron Lifetime with Magnetically Trapped Neutrons

Abstract: An accurate measurement of the neutron lifetime is important for understanding the weak nuclear force and the creation of matter at the early stages of the universe. Previous measurements of this lifetime have been limited by certain systematic effects. These systematics could in principle be avoided by performing the measurements on neutrons stored in a magnetic trap. Here the trapping region is filled with with superfluid 4He, which serves both the functions of loading neutrons into the trap and for detection of decay events. Neutrons in the trap have been shown to have a lifetime of 833+74/-63 seconds, consistent with the presently accepted value of the neutron lifetime and with an uncertainty limited by beta-decay counting statistics rather than trap losses. Our findings have verified theoretical predictions regarding the loading process and magnetic trapping of neutrons. Current work is aimed at decreasing the statistical uncertainty, leading to an improved precision in the neutron lifetime measurement.