A Precision Measurement of the Neutral Pion Lifetime: Pushing the Limits of Confinement Scale QCD

Dr. Daniel Dale
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Kentucky

Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) is our best theory for describing the interaction of quarks and gluons at a fundamental level. Experimental tests of the theory have typically been performed at high energies where the interaction is weak and calculations involving perturbation theory can be performed. The PrimEx Collaboration at Jefferson Lab is performing a high precision measurement of the neutral pion lifetime which will provide a stringent test of the predictions of quantum chromodynamics in the low energy or confinement scale regime. To do this, we have built a new calorimeter pion detector and an electron-positron pair production spectrometer. I will describe this experiment and highlight some of the experimental challenges involved in measuring a cross section at the 1.5% level.