We computed the kinematics of -boson decay into a heavy-light neutrino pair when the -boson is produced at rest in collisions, including the subsequent decay of the heavy neutrino into a visible final state containing a charged-lepton. We concentrated on heavy-neutrino masses of order dozens of GeV and the issue of addressing the nature of the neutrinos—Dirac fermions or Majorana fermions. We find that while it is not possible to tell the nature of the heavy and light neutrinos on an event-by-event basis, the nature of the neutrinos can nonetheless be inferred given a large-enough sample of heavy-light neutrino pairs. We identify two observables sensitive to the nature of neutrinos. One is the forward-backward asymmetry of the daughter-charged-leptons. This asymmetry is exactly zero if the neutrinos are Majorana fermions and is nonzero (and opposite) for positively- and negatively-charged daughter-leptons if the neutrinos are Dirac fermions. The other observable is the polarization of the heavy neutrino, imprinted in the laboratory-frame energy distribution of the daughter-charged-leptons. Dirac neutrinos and antineutrinos produced in collisions at the -pole are strongly polarized while Majorana neutrinos are at most as polarized as the -bosons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)