Expression of Interest: A Muon to Electron Conversion Experiment at Fermilab

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We are writing this letter to express our interest in pursuing an experiment at Fermilab to search for neutrinoless conversion of muons into electrons in the field of a nucleus, which is a lepton flavor-violating (LFV) reaction. The sensitivity goal of this experiment, improving on existing limits for this process by more than a factor of 10000, is very similar to that of previous experiments that have been proposed but never built. It would provide the most sensitive test of LFV, a unique and essential window on new physics unavailable at the high energy frontier. We present a conceptual scheme ... continued below

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7 pages

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Prebys, E. J.; Bogert, D.; Broemmelsiek, D. R.; Ankenbrandt, C. M.; Brice, S. J.; DeJongh, D. F. et al. August 1, 2007.

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We are writing this letter to express our interest in pursuing an experiment at Fermilab to search for neutrinoless conversion of muons into electrons in the field of a nucleus, which is a lepton flavor-violating (LFV) reaction. The sensitivity goal of this experiment, improving on existing limits for this process by more than a factor of 10000, is very similar to that of previous experiments that have been proposed but never built. It would provide the most sensitive test of LFV, a unique and essential window on new physics unavailable at the high energy frontier. We present a conceptual scheme that would exploit the existing Accumulator and Debuncher rings to generate the required characteristics of the primary proton beam. The proposal requires only modest modifications to the accelerator complex after including those already planned for the NOvA experiment, with which this experiment would be fully compatible. The search for lepton flavor violation (LFV) has long played an important role in the evolution of our understanding of electroweak interactions. The neutrinoless conversion of a muon to an electron in the field of a nucleus is a particularly interesting example of an LFV process involving charged leptons. In the Standard Model, such conversions would take place via loop diagrams involving virtual neutrino mixing, at a rate far below the threshold of any currently conceivable experiment. Indeed, any detectable signal would be a definite indication, albeit indirect, of new dynamics at multi-TeV energy scales. Enhanced rate for this process is an almost universal feature of beyond the Standard Model physics, and the fact that such a process has not been observed has constrained or eliminated many models [1]. While it is widely believed that new physics will appear at LHC energies, the LHC is not well-equipped to study LFV directly. An often-quoted example is in the case of supersymmetry. The LHC will probe slepton masses, but it cannot compete with muon decay experiments in constraining the slepton mixing angles. Sensitive searches for rare or forbidden leptonic and semi-leptonic LFV processes, especially those involving charged leptons, are essential for the comprehensive characterization of new high energy physics. While there are several potential reactions that can be used to probe LFV, muon to electron conversion has the remarkable feature that it does not require the coincidence of two final-state particles. The spectacular signature is a single conversion electron of well-defined energy, separated from most of the sources of background. As a result, very high muon data rates can be handled and an unusually sensitive search for LFV becomes feasible. Indeed, at the level of sensitivity discussed below, a large class of supersymmetric models would predict 100's of conversion events. Additionally, compositeness and Z{prime} models would be probed at the multi-TeV scale in a manner complementary to direct LHC searches. Lepto-quarks would be probed at the 3000 TeV scale. Muon to electron conversion is therefore sensitive to many new physics scenarios at energy scales that cannot be probed by direct searches using other foreseeable accelerators.

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7 pages

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  • Report No.: FERMILAB-TM-2389-AD-E
  • Grant Number: AC02-07CH11359
  • DOI: 10.2172/924917 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 924917
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc896275

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  • August 1, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Aug. 1, 2017, 1:43 p.m.

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Prebys, E. J.; Bogert, D.; Broemmelsiek, D. R.; Ankenbrandt, C. M.; Brice, S. J.; DeJongh, D. F. et al. Expression of Interest: A Muon to Electron Conversion Experiment at Fermilab, report, August 1, 2007; Batavia, Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc896275/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.