Do Decay Rates Oscillate Because of Neutrino Mass?

Boris Kayser
Fermi National Lab


An experiment at GSI has reported electron-capture decay rates that oscillate as a function of time. It has been argued by some physicists that this oscillation is due to neutrino mass, and that it offers a relatively cheap way to study neutrino mass and mixing. We argue from basic quantum mechanics that, on the contrary, the reported oscillation cannot be due to neutrino mass. We point out, and then destroy, the trap that appears to have lured some physicists into wrongly believing that neutrino mass is relevant to the reported oscillation. We conclude by speculating on the true cause of the oscillation.