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In the present standard model of particle physics the proton is a stable bound state (of quarks). But in some hypothetical extensions of the standard model, notably in many GUT models, the proton would be unstable, albeit with an extremely long decay time, and hence could decay (e.g. Kolešová-Malinský 14).
Experimental searches for rare proton decay show that the minimum mean lifetime of the proton is at least on the order of $10^{31}$ years (e.g. Super-Kamiokande 15), probably higher.
Since the age of the observable universe is about $1.3 \cdot 10^{10}$ years, this translates to saying that on average at most one proton in 10 kilotons of protons (essentially 10 kilotons of hydrogen atoms) decays per year.
More recently it has been claimed that GUT models may entirely avoid proton decay after all (Mütter-Ratz-Vaudrevange 16, Fornal-Grinstein 17).
Jogesh Pati, Discovery of Proton Decay: A Must for Theory, a Challenge for Experiment (arXiv:hep-ph/0005095)
Helena Kolešová, Michal Malinský, Proton lifetime in the minimal $SO(10)$ GUT and its implications for the LHC, Phys. Rev. D 90, 115001 (2014) (arXiv:1409.4961)
See also
Experimental results include
Claims that proton decay may be entirely avoided in GUTs after all are discussed in:
Andreas Mütter, Michael Ratz, Patrick K.S. Vaudrevange, Grand Unification without Proton Decay (arXiv:1606.02303)
(claims that many string theory and supergravity models have this property)
Bartosz Fornal, Benjamin Grinstein, $SU(5)$ Unification without Proton Decay, Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 241801 (2017) (arXiv:1706.08535)
Last revised on January 18, 2018 at 02:48:24. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.