Future searches for free and bound n → n̅ transformations
1 North Carolina State University, Department of Physics, USA
2 The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Department of Physics and Astronomy, USA
Published online: 13 December 2019
Baryon number violation, a key, non-perturbative prediction of the Standard Model (SM) via electroweak instantons (sphalerons), has never been definitively observed. However, its relationship to baryogenesis is obscure, and, within the context of the SM, seems to require fine tuning and complex dynamics to occur mere instants after the chaos of the Big Bang began. Post-sphaleron baryogenesis (PSB), a SM extension first proposed by Babu et al. in 2006, seems to compellingly quell many of these theoretical conundrums while effectively predicting the baryon abundance, and simultaneously offering a tantalizing experimental observable: neutron–antineutron transformations (n → n̅). This rare event, a phenomena similar to meson oscillations, can be thought of as a form of dinucleon decay, and is hypothesized to occur for both the free and bound neutron; what's more, within the context of PSB, there exits an upper limit on the free neutron transformation rate. The subject of the relatedness of the free and bound rates promises a wealth of exciting nuclear and high-energy physics, and the complimentary nature of both types of experimental searches argues for their mutual necessity. In this paper, we briefly discuss the physics of the transformation, and our groups' plans to search for this critically important phenomena using both the free and bound neutron.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
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