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Physics  2000 

Neutron beta decay and the current determination of Vud

DOI: 10.1016/S0370-2693(01)00051-X

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Abstract:

Measurements of neutron beta decay observables required to determine $|V_{ud}|$ are reaching the 0.1% accuracy. In this paper we review the calculation of the decay rate of this process, discuss its relevant uncertainties, and obtain an expression that is precise at the $10^{-4}$ level. Our analysis clearly shows the necessity of measurements of $\lambda$, the ratio of axial/vector couplings. The current situation in neutron beta decay is that one cannot yet quote a single consistent value for $|V_{ud}|$ from it. We also discuss the region of parameter space in the $|V_{ud}|$--$\lambda$ plane where new physics effects should lie, if they contribute to neutron beta decay.

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