By Hans Volker Klapdor-Kleingrothaus

Nuclear double beta decay is without doubt one of the such a lot promising instruments for probing beyond-the-standard-model physics on beyond-accelerator power scales. it's already now probing the TeV scale, on which new physics should still present itself based on theoretical expectancies. in simple terms within the early Eighties was once it recognized that double beta decay yields info at the Majorana mass of the exchanged neutrino. at the moment, the sharpest certain for the electron neutrino mass arises from this procedure. it is just within the final 10 years that the even more far-reaching power of double beta decay has been came across. this present day, the potential for double beta decay features a wide variety of subject matters which are both appropriate to particle physics and astrophysics, resembling plenty of heavy neutrinos, of sneutrinos, as SUSY versions, compositeness, leptoquarks, left-right symmetric types, and checks of Lorentz symmetry and equivalence precept within the neutrino zone. Double beta decay has turn into essential these days for fixing the matter of the neutrino mass spectrum and the constitution of the neutrino mass matrix - including current and destiny sun and atmospheric neutrino oscillation experiments. a few destiny double beta experiments (like Genius) can be able to be concurrently neutrino observatories for double beta decay and low-energy sun neutrinos, and observatories for chilly darkish topic of final sensitivity. This valuable booklet outlines the improvement of double beta examine from its beginnings until eventually its latest achievements, and in addition offers the outlook for its hugely interesting destiny.

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Fig. 4 Left; Ray Davis, 1997 at the Soiar neutrino Conference, Heidelberg, (foto author). Right: Ray Davis with his experiment in the Homestake underground laboratory. Furry realized that the neutrino in the two-stage process did not necessarily have to be red as in -the reactor experiment, but could be virtual - in neutrinoless double beta:«d$eay. The virtual exchange in neutrinoless double beta decay has finally -proved- to 'be'the more sensitive test for Majorana neutrinos, mainly because the phase space of the virtual neutrino is much larger than for the real neutrino in the Davis experiment.

Future experiments should give access to the multi-TeV range, could complement in many ways the search for new physics at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and at Next Linear Colliders (NLC), and could serve as an important bridge between the physics that will be gleaned from high energy accelerators such as LHC and NLC on the one hand, and satellite experiments such as MAP and PLANCK on the other. Concerning neutrino physics, without double beta decay there will be no solution of the nature of the neutrino (Dirac or Majorana particle) and of the structure of the neutrino mass matrix, since neutrino oscillation experiments measure only differences of neutrino mass eigenstates.

Together with the increasing presumption that neutrinos were actually massive Majorana neutrinos, it was realized by J. F. Valle [SchSl] that the magnetic transition moments, Majorana neutrinos can have, would allow, an inhomogeneous magnetic field to rotate both spin and flavour of a neutrino.. g. [Akh97]). The results from solar neutrino observation were claimed already to disfavour a (diagonal) magnetic moment of the neutrino thus favouring its Majorana nature [Ans92], Since the idea of the see-saw mechanism to explain the smallness of the electron neutrino mass requires left- right symmetric models, the existence of right-handed (V + A) currents is a natural precondition.

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