Examining Parity Violation in Beta Decay using Gamma Ray Polarization

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Richards, David
Yuly, Mark
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Houghton College
One of the most revolutionary findings of the twentieth century was discovery that parity is not conserved in weak interactions. This prediction, published in 1956 by Lee and Yang, was confirmed in the classic 1957 experiment by Wu et al. In the original paper, Lee and Yang pointed out that parity violation might also be tested in bg correlation measurements of the circular polarization of the gamma ray emitted in beta decay. An experiment to measure this effect is being constructed at Houghton College. The transmission of 60Co gamma rays through magnetized iron will be used to measure the circular polarization in coincidence with the electron emitted at 180°. The gamma rays will be detected using a high-purity germanium detector and beta particles by a silicon surface barrier detector. An asymmetry in the coincidence rate when the magnetic field is reversed will indicate parity violation.
XXXII Annual Rochester Symposium for Physics Students, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY., April 6, 2013.
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