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PoS(HQL 2016)042

PEN: a low energy test of lepton universality

D. Pocanic, L.P. Alonzi, V.A. Baranov, W. Bertl, M. Bychkov, Y.M. Bystritsky, E. Frlez, C.J. Glaser, V.A. Kalinnikov, N.V. Khomutov, A.S. Korenchenko, S.M. Korenchenko, M. Korolija, T. Kozlowski, N.P. Kravchuk, N.A. Kuchinsky, M.C. Lehman, D. Mzhavia, A. Palladino, P. Robmann, A.M. Rozhdestvensky, I. Supek, P. Truoel, A. Van der Schaaf, E.P. Velicheva, M.G. Vitz, V.P. Volnykh

in XIII International Conference on Heavy Quarks and Leptons

Contribution: pdf

Abstract

Allowed charged $\pi$ meson decays are characterized by simple dynamics, few available decay channels, mainly into leptons, and extremely well controlled radiative and loop corrections. In that sense, pion decays represent a veritable triumph of the standard model (SM) of elementary particles and interactions. This relative theoretical simplicity makes charged pion decays a sensitive means for testing the underlying symmetries and the universality of weak fermion couplings, as well as for studying pion structure and chiral dynamics. Even after considerable recent improvements, experimental precision is lagging far behind that of the theoretical description for pion decays. We review the current state of experimental study of the pion electronic decay $\pi^+ \to e^+\nu_e(\gamma)$, or $\pi_{e2(\gamma)}$, where the $(\gamma)$ indicates inclusion and explicit treatment of radiative decay events. We briefly review the limits on non-SM processes arising from the present level of experimental precision in $\pi_{e2(\gamma)}$ decays. Focusing on the PEN experiment at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Switzerland, we examine the prospects for further improvement in the near term.