First Measurement of the Neutron beta Asymmetry with Ultracold Neutrons
We report the first measurement of an angular correlation parameter in neutron beta decay using polarized ultracold neutrons (UCN). We utilize UCN with energies below about 200 neV, which we guide and store for similar to 30 s in a Cu decay volume. The interaction of the neutron magnetic dipole moment with a static 7 T field external to the decay volume provides a 420 neV potential energy barrier to the spin state parallel to the field, polarizing the UCN before they pass through an adiabatic fast passage spin flipper and enter a decay volume, situated within a 1 T field in a 2 x 2 pi solenoidal spectrometer. We determine a value for the beta-asymmetry parameter A(0) = -0.1138 +/- 0.0046 +/- 0.0021.