Radiative β decay of the free neutron
Cooper, R.L. et al. "Radiative β decay of the free neutron." Physical Review C 81, no. 3 (2010): 035503.
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The theory of quantum electrodynamics predicts that the β decay of the neutron into a proton, electron, and antineutrino is accompanied by a continuous spectrum of emitted photons described as inner bremsstrahlung. While this phenomenon has been observed in nuclear β decay and electron-capture decay for many years, it has only been recently observed in free-neutron decay. We present a detailed discussion of an experiment in which the radiative decay mode of the free neutron was observed. In this experiment, the branching ratio for this rare decay was determined by recording photons that were correlated with both the electron and proton emitted in neutron decay. We determined the branching ratio for photons with energy between 15 and 340 keV to be (3.09±0.32)×10-3 (68% level of confidence), where the uncertainty is dominated by systematic effects. This value for the branching ratio is consistent with theoretical predictions. The characteristic energy spectrum of the radiated photons, which differs from the uncorrelated background spectrum, is also consistent with the theoretical spectrum.