The neutron, besides its β -decay, might have a new decay channel into mirror neutron n′, its nearly mass degenerate twin from parallel dark sector, and a massless boson X which can be ordinary and mirror photons or some more exotic particle. Such an invisible decay could alleviate the tension between the neutron lifetimes measured in the beam and trap experiments. I discuss some phenomenolog- ical and astrophysical consequences of this scenario, which depends on the mass range of mirror neutron n′. Namely, one case leads to a striking possibility that the hydrogen atom 1H (protium), constituting 75 per cent of the baryon mass in the Universe, could in fact be unstable: it can decay via the electron capture into n′ and νe, with relatively short lifetime $10^{21}$ yr or so. In other case n' can represent an unstable dark matter component with rather large lifetime exceeding the age of the Universe. Nevertheless, this decay would produce substantial diffuse gamma background. The dark decay explanation of the lifetime puzzle, however, has a tension with the last experimental results measuring β-asymmetry in the neutron decay.

Neutron lifetime and dark decay of the neutron and hydrogen

Berezhiani, Zurab
Conceptualization
2019-01-01

Abstract

The neutron, besides its β -decay, might have a new decay channel into mirror neutron n′, its nearly mass degenerate twin from parallel dark sector, and a massless boson X which can be ordinary and mirror photons or some more exotic particle. Such an invisible decay could alleviate the tension between the neutron lifetimes measured in the beam and trap experiments. I discuss some phenomenolog- ical and astrophysical consequences of this scenario, which depends on the mass range of mirror neutron n′. Namely, one case leads to a striking possibility that the hydrogen atom 1H (protium), constituting 75 per cent of the baryon mass in the Universe, could in fact be unstable: it can decay via the electron capture into n′ and νe, with relatively short lifetime $10^{21}$ yr or so. In other case n' can represent an unstable dark matter component with rather large lifetime exceeding the age of the Universe. Nevertheless, this decay would produce substantial diffuse gamma background. The dark decay explanation of the lifetime puzzle, however, has a tension with the last experimental results measuring β-asymmetry in the neutron decay.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/139381
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