The process at the heart of neutrinoless double-β decay, nn→ppe-e- induced by a light Majorana neutrino, is investigated in pionless and chiral effective field theory. We show in various regularization schemes the need to introduce a short-range lepton-number-violating operator at leading order, confirming earlier findings. We demonstrate that such a short-range operator is only needed in spin-singlet S-wave transitions, while leading-order transitions involving higher partial waves depend solely on long-range currents. Calculations are extended to include next-to-leading-order corrections in perturbation theory, where to this order no additional undetermined parameters appear. We establish a connection based on chiral symmetry between neutrinoless double-β decay and nuclear charge-independence breaking induced by electromagnetism. Data on the latter confirm the need for a leading-order short-range operator but do not allow for a full determination of the corresponding lepton-number-violating coupling. Using a crude estimate of this coupling, we perform ab initio calculations of the matrix elements for neutrinoless double-β decay for He6 and Be12. We speculate on the phenomenological impact of the leading short-range operator on the basis of these results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics