2015: Synopsis: Still Waiting For Electron Decay

Spotlighting exceptional research:

Agostini M., et al. (Borexino Collaboration)
M. Wójcik, G. Zuzel, M. Misiaszek, K. Jędrzejczak
Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 231802
Test of Electric Charge Conservation with Borexinoa

Scientists have placed new limits on how often electrons decay into neutrinos and photons, a reaction that—if it occurred—would violate the law of charge conservation.

Conservation of charge is thought to be a fundamental law of nature, so any experiment proving otherwise would upend the standard model of particle physics—and perhaps point physicists to new theories. Researchers have therefore studied the electron, the lightest of the known charged particles, to see if it might decay without conserving charge into two neutral particles (a neutrino and a photon). This possibility is, however, looking even more remote than previously thought. New results from scientists running the sensitive Borexino neutrino detector, buried deep in the Gran Sasso mountain in Italy, reveal that if such reactions occur, they happen less than once every 6.6×10^28years.

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