Beta decay produces neutrinos

Neutrinos are created as a result of numerous decays, which occur when a particle transforms from one type to another. This can happen in a few different ways.

When elementary particles (those that can’t be broken down any further) transition into new, lighter particles, neutrinos are typically created in the process. This is the process of particle decay. When a muon decays into an electron, an electron antineutrino, and a muon neutrino (e + ve + ), this is a common occurrence. Muons are unstable, decaying in roughly 2.2 microseconds to their lighter counterparts, electrons.

Neutrinos can be emitted by non-elementary, or composite, particles. This is particularly true of protons and neutrons, which form up atoms.

Let’s have a look at the beta decay process. The conversion of a neutron to a proton is one form (which occurs in nuclear reactors). Quarks are fundamental particles that make up protons and neutrons. The neutron becomes a proton when a down quark within it turns into an up quark (and changing the atomic element as a result). Because the laws of physics demand that certain qualities be preserved, the process also produces an electron and an electron antineutrino.

Two beta decays can occur almost simultaneously on rare occasions, releasing two electrons and two electron antineutrinos. This is double beta decay, as the name suggests.

Neutrinoless double beta decay would be an exceedingly unusual event, if it exists. Two neutrons would form two protons in this reaction, a virtual neutrino exchange would allow the antineutrino emitted by one beta decay to be reabsorbed in the second decay, and electrons would transport away all the energy—but neutrinos must have a specific quality. It’s only possible if the antineutrino and neutrino have the same properties, which would make them “Majorana particles.” Many physicists believe neutrinos are Majorana particles, and several extremely precise experiments are seeking for this neutrinoless double beta decay.

Most investigations that hunt for electrons carrying away a specific amount of energy in neutrinoless double beta decay involve a huge volume of very clean material. This method is tricky because any quantity of background radiation from the equipment, the atmosphere, or the surrounding environment can cause so much noise and confusion that the decay may go unreported. Even the typical bouncing around of atoms can cause issues, therefore tests are frequently carried out at temperatures lower than those seen in space. Germanium, cadmium, and xenon are some of the most prevalent elements employed in these research. The Majorana Demonstrator and EXO in the United States, as well as CUORE and GERDA in Italy, are examples of projects focused on this phenomenon.