A precision measurement of the neutral pion lifetime via the Primakoff effect
The neutral pion radiative width has been measured to 8.411 eV ± 1.8% + 1.13% - 1.70% (lifetime = 7.826 ± 0.14 + 0.088 - 0.133 x 10-17 s) utilizing the Primakoff effect and roughly 4.9 to 5.5 GeV photons at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA. The Hall B Photon Tagger, the Hall B Pair Spectrometer, a state of the art Hybrid Calorimeter enabled precision incident photon energy measurement, photon flux measurement, and neutral pion identification, respectively. With these and other hardware and software tools, elastic neutral pion yields were extracted from the data. A well developed and understood simulation calculated geometric and software cut efficiency curves. The simulation also provided photo-pion production response functions to fit the experimental cross sections and extract the Primakoff cross section and thus the neutral pion radiative width and lifetime. Future work includes improving understanding of the nuclear incoherent process and any other background sources of elastic neutral pions in this data.