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The precise value of the mean neutron lifetime, tau_n, plays an important role in nuclear and particle physics and cosmology. It is used to predict the ratio of protons to helium atoms in the primordial universe and to search for physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. We eliminated loss mechanisms present in previous trap experiments by levitating polarized ultracold neutrons above the surface of an asymmetric storage trap using a repulsive magnetic field gradient so that the stored neutrons do not interact with material trap walls. As a result of this approach and the use of an in situ neutron detector, the lifetime reported here [877.7 +/- 0.7 (stat) +0.4/-0.2 (sys) seconds] does not require corrections larger than the quoted uncertainties.
Novel experimental techniques are required to make the next big leap in neutron electric dipole moment experimental sensitivity, both in terms of statistics and systematic error control. The nEDM experiment at the Spallation Neutron Source (nEDM@SNS) will implement the scheme of Golub & Lamoreaux [Phys. Rep., 237, 1 (1994)]. The unique properties of combining polarized ultracold neutrons, polarized 3 He, and superfluid 4 He will be exploited to provide a sensitivity to ∼ 10 −28 e · cm. Our cryogenic apparatus will deploy two small (3 L) measurement cells with a high density of ultracold neutrons produced and spin analyzed in situ. The electric field strength, precession time, magnetic shielding, and detected UCN number will all be enhanced compared to previous room temperature Ramsey measurements. Our 3 He co-magnetometer offers unique control of systematic effects, in particular the Bloch-Siegert induced false EDM. Furthermore, there will be two distinct measurement modes: free precession and dressed spin. This will provide an important self-check of our results. Following five years of “critical component demonstration,” our collaboration transitioned to a “large scale integration” phase in 2018. An overview of our measurement techniques, experimental design, and brief updates are described in these proceedings.