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Published February 1, 2007 | Published
Journal Article Open

Neutrino mass implications for muon decay parameters


We use the scale of neutrino mass and naturalness considerations to obtain model-independent expectations for the magnitude of possible contributions to muon decay Michel parameters from new physics above the electroweak symmetry-breaking scale. Focusing on Dirac neutrinos, we obtain a complete basis of dimension four and dimension six effective operators that are invariant under the gauge symmetry of the standard model and that contribute to both muon decay and neutrino mass. We show that—in the absence of fine tuning—the most stringent neutrino-mass naturalness bounds on chirality-changing vector operators relevant to muon decay arise from one-loop operator mixing. The bounds we obtain on their contributions to the Michel parameters are 2 orders of magnitude stronger than bounds previously obtained in the literature. In addition, we analyze the implications of one-loop matching considerations and find that the expectations for the size of various scalar and tensor contributions to the Michel parameters are considerably smaller than derived from previous estimates of two-loop operator mixing. We also show, however, that there exist gauge-invariant operators that generate scalar and tensor contributions to muon decay but whose flavor structure allows them to evade neutrino-mass naturalness bounds. We discuss the implications of our analysis for the interpretation of muon-decay experiments.

Additional Information

© 2007 The American Physical Society (Received 20 April 2006; published 16 February 2007) The authors thank N. Bell, V. Cirigliano, M. Gorshteyn, P. Langacker, B. Nelson, P. Vogel, and M. Wise for helpful discussions. This work was supported in part under U.S. Department of Energy contracts No. FG02-05ER41361 and DE-FG03-ER40701 and National Science Foundation grant No. PHY-0071856.

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