Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
More about neutron–mirror neutron oscillation
Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di L’Aquila, 67010, Coppito, AQ, Italy
2 INFN, Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, 67010, Assergi, AQ, Italy
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Published online: 16 October 2009
It was pointed out recently that oscillation of the neutron n into a mirror neutron n′, a sterile twin of the neutron with exactly the same mass, could be a very fast process with baryon number violation, even faster than the neutron decay itself. This process is sensitive to magnetic fields and it could be observed by comparing the neutron loss rates in the UCN storage chambers for different magnetic backgrounds. We calculate the probability of the n−n′ oscillation in the case when a mirror magnetic field B′ is non-zero and show that in this case it can be suppressed or resonantly enhanced by applying the ordinary magnetic field B, depending on its strength and on its orientation with respect to B′. The recent experimental data, under this hypothesis, still allow for an n−n′ oscillation time of order 1 s or even smaller. Moreover, they indicate that the neutron losses are sensitive to the orientation of the magnetic field. If these hints will be confirmed in future experiments, this would point to the presence of a mirror magnetic field on the Earth of the order of 0.1 G, or some equivalent spin-dependent force of other origin that makes a difference between the neutron and mirror neutron states.
© Springer-Verlag, 2009