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High-Precision Branching Ratio Measurement for the Superallowed β+ Emitter 74Rb

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Title: High-Precision Branching Ratio Measurement for the Superallowed β+ Emitter 74Rb
Author: Dunlop, Ryan
Department: Department of Physics
Program: Physics
Advisor: Svensson, Carl
Abstract: Precision measurements of superallowed Fermi β-decay allow for stringent tests of the magnitude of isospin-symmetry-breaking effects in nuclei, the validity of the conserved vector current hypothesis, and the unitarity of the Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa (CKM) quark-mixing matrix. A high-precision measurement of the branching ratio for the superallowed β+ decay of 74Rb has been performed at the Isotope Separator and ACcelerator (ISAC) facility at TRIUMF. The 8π spectrometer, an array of 20 HPGe detectors, was used to detect γ-rays emitted following the Gamow-Teller and non-analogue Fermi β-decays of 74Rb. PACES, an array of 5 Si(Li) detectors, was used to detect emitted conversion electrons, while half of SCEPTAR, a close-packed array of 10 plastic scintillators, was used to detect emitted β particles. In this experiment, 23 excited states were identified in 74Kr which were populated following the β-decay of 74Rb. A total of 58 γ-rays were identified following the 8.241(4)x108 detected β-particles. An observed non-superallowed branching ratio of 0.396(7)% was determined from the intensity of the identified γ-rays, while the unobserved non-superallowed intensity was calculated to be 0.05(5)%, leading to a superallowed branching ratio of 99.55(5)%. The superallowed branching ratio is now the most precise experimental quantity in the determination of the superallowed ft-value of 74Rb. Combining the half-life and Q-value with the superallowed branching ratio measured in this work leads to a superallowed ft-value of 3082.6(66) s. Finally, comparisons between the superallowed ft-value, the world average Ft-value, and the non-analogue Fermi branching ratio are made to provide future guidance in the refinement of the theoretical models required to describe the crucial isospin-symmetry-breaking term in superallowed β-decay.
Date: 2012-04
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