We consider the possibility of neutron-antineutron (nn¯) conversion, in which the change of a neutron into an antineutron is mediated by an external source, as can occur in a scattering process. We develop the connections between nn¯ conversion and nn¯ oscillation, in which a neutron spontaneously transforms into an antineutron, noting that if nn¯ oscillation occurs in a theory with baryon number minus lepton number (B-L) violation, then nn¯ conversion can occur also. We show how an experimental limit on nn¯ conversion could connect concretely to a limit on nn¯ oscillation, and vice versa, using effective field theory techniques and baryon matrix elements computed in the MIT bag model.

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Published in Physical Review D, v. 97, issue 5, 056008, p. 1-17.

Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI.

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Funded by SCOAP3.

We acknowledge partial support from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Physics under Contract No. DE-FG02-96ER40989, and we thank our colleagues, particularly Jonathan Feng, at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), for generous hospitality. X. Y. would also like to thank the Graduate School of the University of Kentucky and the Huffaker Fund for providing travel support to UCI.