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Physicists make most precise measurement ever of neutron’s lifetime

The magnet array for the UCNτ experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where physicists have measured the lifetime of the neutron with the highest ever precision.Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory The result is “very impressive”, says physicist Shannon Hoogerheide, who measures neutron lifetimes using a competing technique at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. While some researchers use the ‘bottle’ technique to measure the neutron lifetime, others — such as Hoogerheide — use a method that involves watching the particles decay as they move in a beam2.

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