Stefan Schönert (TU München)
Searching for neutrinoless double beta decay
Abstract: The conjecture that neutrinos are their own antiparticles, referred to as Majorana fermions, would point to a physical mechanism that explains their small masses. Majorana neutrinos would generate neutrinoless double beta decay, a matter creating process without the balancing emission of anti-matter. A discovery of Majorana neutrinos would also shed light on the mechanism why matter is so much more abundant than anti-matter in today’s Universe. The search for neutrinoless double beta decay is the most sensitive method to establish the Majorana character of neutrinos. So far, the lepton number violating neutrinoless double beta decay eluded detection. This talk will summarize the latest experimental results, discuss the opportunities and challenges of the upcoming and planned experimental projects, and elaborate on the scientific context.