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Evaluating $V_{ud}$ from neutron beta decays

D. Pocanic

in 9th International Workshop on the CKM Unitarity Triangle

Contribution: pdf


Although well studied, the neutron still offers a unique laboratory for precise tests of Standard Model (SM) predictions. Neutron decay is free of nuclear structure corrections present in nuclear beta decays, and, with a $10^8$ times larger branching ratio than the theoretically cleaner pion beta decay, it is more readily accessible to experimental study than the latter. Measurements at sufficient precision of the neutron lifetime, and of correlations in free neutron beta decay, offer several stringent tests of the SM, including the weak quark couplings (quark-lepton universality), and certain extensions beyond the standard $V-A$ weak interaction theory. This paper focuses on the long-running free neutron beta decay experimental program aimed at obtaining an independent determination of the Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa (CKM) mixing matrix element $V_{ud}$. We discuss the present state of precision achieved in this program and briefly review the currently active projects, as well as the expected near-term improvements in the field.