A U.S.-led team of scientists has made the first experimental observations of rare particles of light emitted during the decay of neutrons.
The researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and four universities say their findings confirm theoretical predictions of such of neutron decay.
The experiments were performed at the NIST Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, Md., and the researchers included scientists from the NIST Physics Laboratory, Tulane University, and the universities of Michigan, Maryland and Sussex (Brighton, England).
The experiments, conducted between January 2004 and November 2005, makes it possible to design tests of the "standard model" of particle physics and search for new physics beyond it, according to the scientists.
The research, supported in part by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, is explained in the Dec. 21 issue of the journal Nature.
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