Gasparian, A (reprint author), N Carolina A&T State Univ Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27411 USA.
High precision measurements of the differential cross sections for pi(0) photoproduction at forward angles for two nuclei, C-12 and Pb-208, have been performed for incident photon energies of 4.9-5.5 GeV to extract the pi(0) -> gamma gamma decay width. The experiment was done at Jefferson Lab using the Hall B photon tagger and a high-resolution multichannel calorimeter. The pi(0) -> gamma gamma decay width was extracted by fitting the measured cross sections using recently updated theoretical models for the process. The resulting value for the decay width is Gamma(pi(0) -> gamma gamma) = 7.82 +/- 0.14(stat) +/- 0.17(syst) eV. With the 2.8% total uncertainty, this result is a factor of 2.5 more precise than the current Particle Data Group average of this fundamental quantity, and it is consistent with current theoretical predictions.