Wednesday, July 3, 2013

1307.0101 (G. Drexlin et al.)

Current Direct Neutrino Mass Experiments    [PDF]

G. Drexlin, V. Hannen, S. Mertens, C. Weinheimer
In this contribution we review the status and perspectives of direct neutrino mass experiments. These experiments investigate the kinematics of $\beta$-decays of specific isotopes ($^3$H, $^{187}$Re, $^{163}$Ho) to derive model-independent information on the averaged electron (anti-) neutrino mass, which is formed by the incoherent sum of the neutrino mass eigenstates contributing to the electron neutrino. We first review the kinematics of $\beta$-decay and the determination of the neutrino mass, before giving a brief overview of past neutrino mass measurements (SN1987a-ToF studies, Mainz and Troitsk experiments for $^3$H, cryo-bolometers for $^{187}$Re). We then describe the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino (KATRIN) experiment which is currently under construction at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The large-scale setup will use the MAC-E-Filter principle pioneered earlier to push the sensitivity down to a value of 200 meV(90% C.L.). KATRIN faces many technological challenges that have to be resolved with regard to source intensity and stability, as well as precision energy analysis and low background rate close to the kinematic endpoint of tritium $\beta$-decay at 18.6 keV. We then review new experimental approaches such as the MARE, ECHO and Project8 experiments, which offer the promise to perform an independent measurement of the neutrino mass in the sub-eV region. This variety of methods and the novel technologies developed in all present and future experiments demonstrate the great potential of direct neutrino mass experiments in providing vital information on the absolute mass scale of neutrinos.
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