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NUMEN Project @ LNS : Heavy ions double charge exchange reactions towards the

0 nuclear matrix element determination


C. Agodi, F. Cappuzzello, D. L. Bonanno, D. G. Bongiovanni, V. Branchina, L. Calabretta, A. Calanna, D.
Carbone, M. Cavallaro, M. Colonna, G. Cuttone, A. Foti, P. Finocchiaro, V. Greco, G. Lanzalone, D. Lo Presti, F.
Longhitano, A. Muoio, L. Pandola, D. Rifuggiato, and S. Tudisco
Citation: AIP Conference Proceedings 1686, 020001 (2015); doi: 10.1063/1.4934890
View online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4934890
View Table of Contents: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/proceeding/aipcp/1686?ver=pdfcov
Published by the AIP Publishing
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NUMEN Project @ LNS : Heavy Ions Double Charge


Exchange reactions towards the 0 Nuclear Matrix
Element determination
C. Agodi1),*, F. Cappuzzello1),2), D. L.Bonanno3), D. G.Bongiovanni3), V. Branchina2), L. Calabretta1),
A.Calanna1), D. Carbone1), M. Cavallaro1), M. Colonna1), G. Cuttone1), A. Foti2),3), P. Finocchiaro1), V.
Greco1),2), G.Lanzalone5), D. Lo Presti2),3), F.Longhitano3), A.Muoio4), L. Pandola1), D. Rifuggiato1), S.
Tudisco1)
1) INFN - Laboratori Nazionali del Sud, Catania, Italy
2) Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Universit di Catania, Catania, Italy
3) INFN - Sezione di Catania, Catania, Italy
4) Universit di Messina, Messina, Italy
5) Universit di Enna, Enna, Italy
*Corresponding author: agodi@lns.infn.it
Abstract. In the NUMEN Project it is proposed an innovative technique to access the nuclear matrix elements
entering in the expression of the life-time of the neutrinoless double beta decay, using relevant cross sections of
double charge exchange reactions. A key aspect is the use of MAGNEX large acceptance magnetic spectrometer,
for the detection of the ejectiles, and of the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Sud (LNS) K800 Superconducting
Cyclotron (CS), for the acceleration of the required high resolution and low emittance heavy-ion beams.

INTRODUCTION
It is well known that 0 decay is potentially the best resource to probe the Majorana or Dirac nature of
neutrino and to extract its effective mass: these are the main reasons that make the search of a so rare decay a
worldwide race. In this framework, nuclear physics plays a key role because of the Nuclear Matrix Element (NME),
that is one of the fundamental factors that enter in the expression of the 0 decay rate:
T1/2

-1

= G0 M0

f(mi ,Uei ) 2

(1)

where G0 is the phase-space factor, f(mi ,Uei ) is a term containing the masses mi and the mixing coefficients Uei
of the neutrino species and the NME is the transition amplitude from the initial to the final nuclear state of the
process through the 0 decay operator:
M0 2 = f O0 i

(2)

Only if NME are established with sufficient precision, neutrino masses and their mixing coefficients can be
extracted from 0 decay rate measurements.
Today the NME evaluation is limited to the state of the art of model calculation based on different methods
(QRPA, shell-model, IBM, etc.) [1],[2],[3],[4],[6]. High precision experimental information from single charge
exchange, transfer reactions and electron capture are used to constraint calculations [7],[8],[9],[10],[11]. However
the ambiguities in the models are still too large and the constraints too loose to reach accurate NME values.
Workshop on Calculation of Double-beta-decay Matrix Elements (MEDEX15)
AIP Conf. Proc. 1686, 020001-1020001-4; doi: 10.1063/1.4934890
2015 AIP Publishing LLC 978-0-7354-1333-7/$30.00

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Discrepancy factors higher than two are presently reported in literature. In addition, some assumptions common to
the different competing calculations, like the unavoidable truncation of the many body wave-function, could cause
overall a systematic uncertainties.
In the NUMEN Project we propose to use Heavy Ions Double Charge Exchange (HI-DCE) reactions as a tool to
overcome these problems towards NME determination [12]. A key aspect of the project is the use of INFN
Laboratori Nazionali del Sud K800 Superconducting Cyclotron (CS) for the acceleration of the required high
resolution and low emittance heavy-ion beams and of MAGNEX large acceptance magnetic spectrometer for the
detection of the ejectiles.
HI-DCE reactions are nuclear transitions where the nuclear charge is changed by two units leaving the mass
number unvaried, in analogy to the -decay. Although HI-DCE and 0 decay processes are mediated by different
interactions, they present a lot of similarities. Among them, the basic point is that parent/daughter states of the 0
decay are the same as those of the target/residual nuclei in the DCE and that short-range Fermi, Gamow-Teller and
rank-2 tensor components are present in both the transition operators, with relative weight depending on incident
energy in DCE. Early studies on HI induced DCE reactions were also not conclusive [13],[14]. The reason was the
lack of zero degree data and the poor yields in the measured energy spectra and angular distributions, due to the very
low cross section involved. An additional complication in the interpretation of the data was due to possible
contributions of multi-nucleon transfer reactions leading to the same final states.
It is well known that single -decay strengths are proportional to single charge exchange reaction cross section,
for linear momentum transfer q ~ 0 and under specific experimental condition [15] :
d
d

q,Ex = Ep ,A F q,Ex BT ()BP ()

(3)

where BT() and BP() are the target and projectile -decay reduced transition strengths (related to the matrix
elements M()1) for the = Fermi (F) or Gamow-Teller (GT) operators2. The factor F(q,Ex) describes the shape of
the cross section distribution as a function of the linear momentum transfer q and the excitation energy Ex. For L = 0
transitions, it depends on the square of the j0(qr) spherical Bessel function,. The quantity , named unit cross
section, is of primary interest since it almost behaves as a universal property of the nuclear response to F and GT
probes. The dependence on the projectile energy Ep and on the target mass number A is indeed quite smooth and
computable all along the nuclear chart. In a rigorous Distorted Wave approach as that proposed by Taddeucci et al.
[14], the unit cross section for a CE process is factorized as:
Ep ,A =K(Ep ,0) J 2 ND

(4)

where K(Ep,Ex) is a kinematic factor, J is the volume integral of the effective isovector nucleon-nucleon interaction
and ND
expresses the distortion of the incoming and outcoming waves in the scattering. These equations are
routinely used for accurate (within few %) determination of the reduced matrix element in light-ions induced
reactions such as (n,p); (p,n); (3He,t); (t,3He) at bombarding energy above 100 MeV/u.
For HI induced reactions data analysis is typically more involved, due to the projectile degrees of freedom and
the sizeable amount of momentum transfer. A relevant simplification comes from the strong absorption of the
scattering waves in the inner part of the colliding systems and the consequent surface localization of such reactions.
The specificity of the CE or DCE unit cross section is expressed through the volume integrals of the potential, being
the other factors general features of the scattering. A model for the two vertices interaction is needed to extract
physical information from measured DCE cross-sections. At present time a complete and coherent theory of such an
interaction does not exist. In a simple model one can assume that the DCE process is just a second order charge
exchange. From the experimental point of view, the use of modern high resolution and large acceptance
spectrometers, like MAGNEX, togheter with high resolution and low emittance heavy-ion beams, like that produced
at LNS K800 Superconducting Cyclotron (CS), are crucial for the experimental challenges, looking forward to
extract quantitative information from DCE reactions. Moreover the measurement of DCE high resolution energy
spectra and accurate cross sections at very forward angles are key points to identify the transitions of interest. The
concurrent measurement of the other relevant reaction channels allows to isolate the direct DCE mechanism from
1
2

In this document =

!
!!! !!

() ! , where Ji is the angular momentum of the initial state.

Usually for (p,n) and (n,p) reactions the BP() strength does not explicitly appear in the formula and is included in Ep ,A .

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the competing transfer processes. These are at least of 4th-order and can be effectively minimized by the choice of
the proper projectile-target system and incident energy [16]. First experimental results, obtained at the INFN-LNS
laboratory in Catania, for the pilot experiment 40Ca(18O,18Ne)40Ar at 270 MeV, in a wide range of transferred
momenta, give encouraging indication on the capability to access quantitative information towards the determination
of the Nuclear Matrix Elements for 0 decay. The ejectiles produced in the collisions were momentum-analysed
by the MAGNEX large acceptance spectrometer [17] and detected by its focal plane detector [18], [19]. The
ejectiles identification was achieved as described in ref. [20], [21]. In order to estimate the contribution of the
competing channels also the 40Ca(18O,18F)40K single charge-exchange, the 40Ca(18O,20Ne)38Ar two-proton (2p) and
the 40Ca(18O,16O)42Ca two-neutron (2n) transfer were studied. We estimated that the contribute of the transfer
reactions (2p and 2n transfer) affect less than 1% the DCE cross section. Strengths factors have been extracted under
the hypothesis of a two-step charge-exchange process.

TOWARD THE HOT CASES


The availability of the MAGNEX spectrometer for high resolution measurements of very suppressed reaction
channels was essential for the first pilot experiment performed. However with the present set-up it is difficult to
suitably extend this research to the hot cases, where 0 decay studies are and will be concentrated. We consider
that about one order of magnitude more yield would have been necessary for the reaction studied; the (18O,18Ne)
reaction is particularly advantageous, due to the large value of both B[GT;18Ogs(0+) 18Fgs(1+)] and B[GT;18Fgs(1+)
18
Negs(0+)] strengths and to the concentration of the GT strength in the 18F(1+) ground state. However this reaction is
of ++ kind, while most of the research on 0 is on the opposite side; none of the reactions of -- kind looks like
as favorable as the (18O,18Ne), so a sensible reduction of the yield is foreseen in these cases. Moreover in some cases
gas target will be necessary, e.g. 136Xe or 130Xe, which are normally much thinner than solid state ones, with a
consequent reduction of the collected yield; in other cases the energy resolution we can provide (about half MeV) is
not enough to separate the ground state from the excited states in the final nucleus. In these cases the coincident
detection of gamma rays from the de-excitation of the populated states is necessary; a strong fragmentation is known
in the nuclei of interest compared to the 40Ca. So the present limit of low beam current we have experienced, both
for the CS accelerator and for the MAGNEX focal plane detector, must be sensibly overcome. For a systematic
study of the many nuclei candidates for 0 decay an upgraded set-up, able to work with two orders of magnitude
more current than the present, is thus necessary. This goal can be achieved by a substantial change in the
technologies used in the beam extraction and in the detection of the ejectiles.

THE FOUR PHASES OF NUMEN PROJECT


In this framework we propose four phases in the NUMEN project, looking forward to do in the same time both the
experimental and the up-grade activity, as indicated in the following.
Phase1, the experiment feasibility : The pilot experiment 40Ca(18O,18Ne)40Ar at 270 MeV, with the first
experimental data on HI-DCE reactions in a wide range of transferred momenta, was done. The results demostrate
the technique feasibility.
Phase2, toward hot cases optimizing experimental conditions and getting first results : The necessary work for
the upgrading of both the accelerator and MAGNEX will be carried out still preserving the access to the present
facility. The Phase2 is crucial to allow us to optimize the experimental conditions and open a new challenging
research field, carrying out an experimental investigation of few candidate nuclei for the decay. In this
framework, we propose to study the (18O,18Ne) reaction as a probe for the ++ transitions and the (20Ne,20O), or
alternatively the (12C,12Be), for the --. We select two systems: 76Ge-76Se pair for the first class and 116Cd-116Sn pair
for the second. For these nuclei the ground states are resolvable from excited states by MAGNEX (being for 76Ge
and 76Se respectively 562 keV and 559 keV; 1.29 MeV and 513 keV respectively for 116Sn and for 116Cd). We also
plan to explore the 130Te and 106Cd systems, which are candidates for 0 already at our reach in terms of energy
resolution and availability of thin targets. For each of them, the complete net of reactions involving the multi-step
transfer processes, characterized by the same initial and final nuclei will be studied under the same experimental
conditions. The completion of the experimental activity of NUMEN Phase2 would represent by itself a groundbreaking result, looking forward the main goal of the proposal that has the ambition to indicate a new generation of
experiments, with the challenging perspective, in the long term, to provide key information to the community to go
deep insight the true nature of neutrino.

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Phase3, the facility upgrade : once all the building block for the upgrade of the accelerator and spectrometer
facility will be ready at the LNS a Phase3, connected to the disassembling of the old set-up and re-assembling of the
new one will start.
Phase4, the experimental campaign: it will consist of a series of experimental campaigns at high beam
intensities (some pmA) and long experimental runs in order to reach in each experiment integrated charge of
hundreds of mC up to C, for the experiments in coincidences, spanning all the variety of candidate isotopes,
like:48Ca,82Se,96Zr,100Mo,110Pd,124Sn,128Te,130Te,136Xe,148Nd,154Sm,160Gd,198Pt.
The Holy Graal of our Project is studying if DCE cross-section is a smooth and thus controllable function of Ep
and A. To do that it is necessary an accurate description of the reaction mechanism, factorized in a reaction and a
nuclear structure part. The development of a consistent microscopic description of the HI-DCE reaction and the
nuclear structure part is essential to this purpose. Experimentally the achievement of this first and most ambitious
goal requires that a systematic set of appropriate data is built, facing the relative experimental challenges related
with the low cross sections and high resolutions requests. The second goal, in the same way ground-breaking but
achievable in a shorter period, is to test the goodness of the assumptions done in calculations for the unavoidable
truncation of the many-body wave functions by measuring DCE absolute cross sections. Indeed the matrix elements
for double charge exchange and neutrino-less double beta decay probe the same initial and final wave functions by
operators with similar structure. Finally the third goal is to provide relative NME information on the hot cases of
the 0 decay. In case of validity of cross section factorization, the ratio of measured cross sections can give a
model independent way to compare the sensitivity of different half-life experiments and these could impact in the
future experimental development in the field.

CONCLUSIONS
An innovative technique to access the nuclear matrix elements entering in the expression of the life time of the 0
decay by relevant cross sections of double charge exchange reactions is proposed. First pioneering experimental
results obtained at the CS beam of INFN-LNS and MAGNEX for the 40Ca(18O,18Ne)40Ar reaction at 270 MeV, give
encouraging indication on the capability of the proposed technique to access relevant quantitative information.
High beam intensity is the new frontier for these studies with a substantial change in the technologies used. In this
framework we propose the NUMEN Project, to go deep inshight in the HI-DCE studies on nuclei of interest in 0
decay, both from the theoretical and the experimental point of view, looking forward at the 0 NME dermination.

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