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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Mar 21;100(11):112501. Epub 2008 Mar 17.

Nuclear structure relevant to neutrinoless double beta decay: 76Ge and 76Se.

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  • 1Physics Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439, USA.


The possibility of observing neutrinoless double beta decay offers the opportunity of determining the effective neutrino mass if the nuclear matrix element were known. Theoretical calculations are uncertain, and measurements of the occupations of valence orbits by nucleons active in the decay can be important. The occupation of valence neutron orbits in the ground states of 76Ge (a candidate for such decay) and 76Se (the daughter nucleus) were determined by precisely measuring cross sections for both neutron-adding and removing transfer reactions. Our results indicate that the Fermi surface is much more diffuse than in theoretical calculations. We find that the populations of at least three orbits change significantly between these two ground states while in the calculations, the changes are confined primarily to one orbit.

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