Precision long-term measurements of beta-decay-rate ratios in a controlled environment

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Abstract

We report on measurements of relative beta-decay rates of Na-22, Cl-36, Co-60, Sr-90, Cs-137 monitored for more than one year. The radioactive samples are mounted in an automated sample changer that sequentially positions the five samples in turn, with high spatial precision, in front of each of four Geiger–Müller tubes. The sample wheel, detectors, and associated electronics are housed inside a sealed chamber held at constant absolute pressure, humidity, and temperature to isolate the experiment from environmental variations. The statistical uncertainty in the count rate approaches a few times 0.01% with two weeks of averaging. Other sources of error are on a similar scale. The data are analyzed in variety of ways, comparing count rates of the various samples on one or more detectors, and comparing count rates of a particular sample across multiple detectors. We observe no statistically significant variations in the ratios of decay rates, either annual or at higher-frequency, at a level above 0.01%.

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Bergeson, S. D., Peatross, J., & Ware, M. J. (2017). Precision long-term measurements of beta-decay-rate ratios in a controlled environment. Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics, 767, 171–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physletb.2017.01.030

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