Status and prospects of searches for neutrinoless double beta decay


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The simultaneous beta decay of two neutrons in a nucleus without the emission of neutrinos (called neutrinoless double beta decay) is a lepton number violating process which is not allowed in the Standard Model of particle physics. More than a dozen experiments using different candidate isotopes and a variety of detection techniques are searching for this decay. Some (EXO-200, Kamland-Zen, and GERDA) started to take data recently. EXO and Kamland-Zen have reported first limits of the half life math formula for 136Xe. After a decade of little progress in this field, these results start to scrutinize the claim from part of the Heidelberg–Moscow collaboration to have observed this decay. The sensitivities of the different proposals are reviewed.