The universe is about 13 billion years old, an inconceivable time by human standards. Yet, compared to some physical processes, it is only a brief moment. There are radioactive nuclei that disintegrate on much longer time scales. An international team of scientists has directly measured the longest half-life ever recorded. Using the XENON1T detector, mainly used for dark matter research,researchers were able to observe, for the first time, the disintegration of Xenon-124 atoms.
XENON1T is a joint experimental project involving about 160 scientists from Europe, the United States and the Middle East. French participants include Subatech Laboratories (CNRS/IN2P3 - IMT Atlantique - Université de Nantes), LPNHE (CNRS/IN2P3 - Sorbonne University) and LAL (Laboratoire de l'Acélérateur Linéaire, Université Paris-Sud, CNRS/IN2P3, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91405 Orsay, France).
Read the press release (in French) Publication dans «Nature» : les scientifiques de la collaboration XENON1T mesurent directement la plus longue demi-vie de l'univers
The results were published in the scientific journal "Nature".
Read the interview with researcher Dominique Thers on the I'M Tech blog.
by Pierre-Hervé VAILLANT