Solving a long-standing atomic mass difference puzzle paves way to the neutrino mass

11 agosto 2015

To measure the mass of neutrinos, scientists study radioactive decays in which they are emitted. An essential ingredient is the decay energy which corresponds to the mass difference between the mother and daughter nuclei. This decay energy must be known with highest precision. A team of scientists now succeeded to resolve a severe discrepancy of the decay energy for the artificial holmium (Ho) isotope with mass number 163. It decays by electron capture to the stable dysprosium-163 (sup163/supDy) and appears well suited to measure the neutrino mass.