A New Measurement of the $π^0$ Radiative Decay Width

Physics – Nuclear Physics – Nuclear Experiment

Scientific paper

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4 pages, 5 figures

Scientific paper

10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.162303

High precision measurements of the differential cross sections for $\pi^0$ photoproduction at forward angles for two nuclei, $^{12}$C and $^{208}$Pb, have been performed for incident photon energies of 4.9 - 5.5 GeV to extract the ${\pi^0 \to \gamma\gamma}$ decay width. The experiment was done at Jefferson Lab using the Hall B photon tagger and a high-resolution multichannel calorimeter. The ${\pi^0 \to \gamma\gamma}$ decay width was extracted by fitting the measured cross sections using recently updated theoretical models for the process. The resulting value for the decay width is $\Gamma{(\pi^0 \to \gamma\gamma)} = 7.82 \pm 0.14 ~({\rm stat.}) \pm 0.17 ~({\rm syst.}) ~{\rm eV}$. With the 2.8% total uncertainty, this result is a factor of 2.5 more precise than the current PDG average of this fundamental quantity and it is consistent with current theoretical predictions.

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