In DepthNuclear Physics

U.S. targets matter-antimatter frontier

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Science  23 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6259, pp. 363-364
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6259.363

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Nuclear physicists in the United States urged government funders to swiftly launch a new experiment to test whether the neutrino is—weirdly—its own antiparticle. If it is, the discovery would rewrite textbooks in both nuclear and particle physics. First, though, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) must to come up with roughly $250 million to build a massive detector deep underground, where it would search for a new type of nuclear decay, called neutrinoless double beta decay. That decay can occur only if neutrino and antineutrino are one. The call for the experiment, which physicists hope to start building in 2018, is one part of a new long-range plan that physicists presented to DOE's Nuclear Science Advisory Committee on 15 October in Washington, D.C. The plan mainly calls for continuing with current projects and facilities and says that a dreamed of billion dollar electron-ion collider won't be possible until the end of the next decade at the earliest.