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Preliminary results on the search for the neutrinoless double beta decay of 130Te with the Cuoricino experiment

Abstract

© 2003, Springer-Verlag, Società Italiana di Fisica. The search for neutrinoless double beta decay (DBD-0ν) is a powerful tool to establish the correct neutrino mass hierarchy and whether the neutrino is a Majorana or Dirac particle. The Milano group has run several experiments using thermal detectors to search for the 130Te DBD-0ν. The Cuoricino experiment consists of an array of 62 TeO2 thermal detectors for a total mass of about 40 kg, by far the largest cryogenic experiment in the world. The detector installation in the Gran Sasso Underground Laboratory has been recently completed. After a test phase the experiment is now taking data and we report here the preliminary results. Cuoricino is the first step toward the CUORE experiment, which will consists of 1000 TeO2 thermal detectors for a total mass of about 760 kg: in this paper we discuss also the physics potential of both stages for what concerns the DBD-0ν search. PACS: 11.30.Fs Lepton number – 14.60.Pq Neutrino mass and mixing – 23.40.Bw Weak interactions in beta decay

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