Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Bradley Plaster


The UCNA Experiment at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) is the first measurement of the β-decay asymmetry parameter A0 using polarized ultracold neutrons (UCN). A0 , which represents the parity-violating angular correlation between the direction of the initial neutron spin and the emitted decay electron’s momentum, determines λ = gA /gV , the ratio of the weak axial-vector and vector coupling constants. A high-precision determination of λ is important for weak interaction physics, and when combined with the neutron lifetime it permits an extraction of the CKM matrix element Vud solely from neutron decay. At LANSCE, UCN are produced in a pulsed, spallation driven solid deuterium source and then polarized via transport through a 7 T magnetic field. Their spins can then be flipped via transport through an Adiabatic Fast Passage spin flipper located in a low-field-gradient 1 T field region prior to transport to a decay storage volume situated within a 1 T solenoidal spectrometer. Electron detector packages located at each end of the spectrometer provide for the measurement of decay electrons. Previous UCNA results (based on data collected in 2010 and earlier) were limited by systematic uncertainties, in particular those from the UCN polarization, calibration of the electron energy, electron backscattering, and angular acceptance of events. This dissertation will present a background of neutron decay, an overview of the UCNA Experiment, followed by a detailed report on the entire analysis process for data acquired during run periods in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Nuclear Commons