17-22 July 2016
Master Cutlers Hall
Europe/London timezone

The KATRIN neutrino mass experiment

18 Jul 2016, 10:10
Venue: Cutlers' Main Hall (First Floor); Chair: Jules Gascon; Session Managers: Andrew Scarff & Anthony Ezeribe ()

Venue: Cutlers' Main Hall (First Floor); Chair: Jules Gascon; Session Managers: Andrew Scarff & Anthony Ezeribe


Dr. Joachim Wolf (Karlsruhe Institute of technology (KIT))


The objective of the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino experiment (KATRIN) is the measurement of the effective electron neutrino mass with an unprecedented model-independent sensitivity of 200 meV/c$^2$. This will improve present limits by one order of magnitude and allow to constrain the role of relic neutrinos as hot dark matter in structure evolution. A non-zero neutrino mass in the sub-eV range induces only a minute deviation of the $\beta$-decay spectrum close to the kinematic endpoint. In the case of KATRIN, high-purity molecular tritium is used as $\beta$-emitter. The components of KATRIN, a high intensity windowless tritium source (~$10^{11}$ Bq), and a huge 24-m long electrostatic spectrometer (MAC-E-filter) with an energy resolution of 1 eV at the $\beta$-endpoint of 18.6 keV guarantee high precision spectroscopy. The overall 70-m long setup is presently being commissioned at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) by an international collaboration of about 150 scientists. This talk describes the goals and challenges of the experiment and reports on the progress in the ongoing commissioning of the experiment. Initial background results from one year of spectrometer operation will be presented. The unique spectroscopic quality of the data close to the endpoint will allow to also investigate eV-scale sterile neutrinos, as suggested by the so called reactor anomaly, for example. The initial measurements at reduced source intensity will be used to investigate keV-scale sterile neutrinos by measuring over a wider energy range and looking for a corresponding characteristic kink-like structure in the energy spectrum. We acknowledge the support of the Helmholtz Association (HGF), the German Ministry for Education and Research BMBF (05A14VK2) and the Helmholtz Alliance for Astroparticle Physics (HAP).

Primary author

Dr. Joachim Wolf (Karlsruhe Institute of technology (KIT))

Presentation Materials

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