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Advances in High Energy Physics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 857016, 38 pages
Review Article

Neutrinoless Double-Beta Decay

1CNRS, Centre de Spectroscopie Nucléaire et de Spectroscopie de Masse, Bâtiment 108, Campus d’Orsay, 91405 Orsay, France
2Departamento de Física Teórica, IFT-UAM/CSIC, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain

Received 2 August 2012; Accepted 9 October 2012

Academic Editor: Arthur B. McDonald

Copyright © 2012 Andrea Giuliani and Alfredo Poves. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper introduces the neutrinoless double-beta decay (the rarest nuclear weak process) and describes the status of the research for this transition, both from the point of view of theoretical nuclear physics and in terms of the present and future experimental scenarios. Implications of this phenomenon on crucial aspects of particle physics are briefly discussed. The calculations of the nuclear matrix elements in case of mass mechanisms are reviewed, and a range for these quantities is proposed for the most appealing candidates. After introducing general experimental concepts—such as the choice of the best candidates, the different proposed technological approaches, and the sensitivity—we make the point on the experimental situation. Searches running or in preparation are described, providing an organic presentation which picks up similarities and differences. A critical comparison of the adopted technologies and of their physics reach (in terms of sensitivity to the effective Majorana neutrino mass) is performed. As a conclusion, we try to envisage what we expect round the corner and at a longer time scale.