Planning for the next generation of proton-decay experiments in the United States Page: 13 of 16
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understood from the Brookhaven detector experience. A p + e+n" decay
would produce about 60 drift-cell hits in the detector and would be
characterized by an energy resolution E/E - 10%. The Penn detector
determines the charge of stopping pions and kaons by observing the
nuclear stars produced by stopping negative hadrons and the decay
products of stopping positive mesons. Energy-loss data from the
liquid scintillator will give this calorimeter excellent particle-
identification capabilities. Muon decay and muon polarization are
easily detectable in liquid scintillator, but muon charge must be
inferred from the charges of accompanying hadron decay products. The
rejection of cosmic-ray-induced backgrounds is improved by timing
information (at - 2 nsec), which allows the direction of motion of
most particles to be determined.
5. Issues to be Resolved for the U.S. Program
The recommendations of the DOE Technical Assessment Panel on
Proton Decay reflect a disagreement among researchers on a number of
issues which are essentially technical. Such uncertainties are
inevitable when experiments of unprecedented size and sensitivity are
proposed to search for a rare process with unknown characteristics in
an environment where the important backgrounds have not yet been
measured experimentally. The questions which must be resolved before
the U.S. program can proceed will be discussed in depth at the
workshop at Argonne this summer. A synopsis of the most important
issues is given here:
(1) When should the next generation of experiments begin?
Some argue that nothing should be decided until we have results
from the water Cerenkovs: if these experiments work well and do not
see decays, then the technique should be extended to larger masses; if
a signal is seen, we will know much better what kind of device to
build to study proton decay in detail. Others argue that the physics
importance of any result, positive or negative, will require it to be
verified by techniques which are as different as possible from the
water Cerenkovs. Both the decay modes and the backgrounds are
unknown, and experimental sensitivity and background rejection depend
on the actual decay modes and on the detection technique. Finally,
Here’s what’s next.
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Ayres, D.S. Planning for the next generation of proton-decay experiments in the United States, article, January 1, 1982; Illinois. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1112452/m1/13/: accessed April 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.