High-Precision Half-Life and Branching-Ratio Measurements for the Superallowed Beta+ Emitter 26Alm
High-precision half-life and branching-ratio measurements for the superallowed beta+ emitter 26Alm were performed at the TRIUMF-ISAC radioactive ion beam facility located in Vancouver, Canada. The branching ratio measurement was performed with the 8pi Spectrometer, an array of 20 high-purity germanium detectors, in conjunction with SCEPTAR, a plastic scintillator array used to detect the emitted beta particles. An upper limit of <= 12 ppm at 90% confidence level was found for the second forbidden beta + decay of 26Alm to the first 2+ state at 1809 keV in 26Mg. An inclusive upper limit of <= 15 ppm at 90% confidence level was found when considering all possible non-analogue beta +/EC decay branches of 26Alm, resulting in a superallowed branching ratio of 100.0000+0−0.0015%. The half-life measurement was performed using a 4pi continuous-flow gas proportional counter and fast tape transport system. The resulting value for the 26Alm half-life, T1/2 = 6.34654(76) s, is consistent with, but 2.5 times more precise than, the previous world average, and represents the single most precisely measured half-life of any superallowed emitting nucleus to date. Combining these results with world-average Q-value measurements yields a superallowed beta -decay ft value of 3037.58(60) s, the most precisely determined ft value for any superallowed emitting nucleus to date. Combined with the small, and precisely quoted, theoretical isospin-symmetry-breaking corrections for this nucleus, the corrected Ft value for 26Alm of 3073.1(12) s is also the most precisely determined for any superallowed emitter by nearly a factor of two and now rivals the precision of all the other 12 precisely measured superallowed beta decays combined. The high-precision experimental ft value for 26Alm superallowed decay reported here provides a new benchmark to refine theoretical models of isospin-symmetry-breaking effects in superallowed Fermi beta decays.