Blast from the past—First measurement of mono-energetic neutrinos


This interior view of the MiniBooNE detector tank programs the selection of photodetectors utilized to get the light particles that are produced when a neutrino communicates with a nucleus inside the tank. Credit: Fermilab/ ReidarHahn

By examining information gathered over 8 years earlier, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have actually made a possibly revolutionary discovery.

In2002, researchers started the Booster Neutrino Experiment, referred to as MiniBooNE, at Fermilab to get more information about how neutrinos– really light, neutral basic particles– communicate with matter. Scientists just recently reconsidered information from the experiment taken in between 2009 and 2011, and they discovered the very first direct proof of mono-energetic neutrinos, or neutrinos with certain energy, that are energetic adequate to produce a muon.

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Neutrinos are incredibly light and are just affected by the weak subatomic force, so they hardly ever communicate with matter. In reality, they might take a trip through light-years of lead prior to connecting with it. The particles are really hard to discover, however easy to produce. Because of the neutrino’s elusiveness, researchers need to deal with beams made up of great deals of the particles. They shoot the beams at nuclei in a detector, expecting neutrinos to hit the target product.

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“One complication of using these large beams is that the energies of the neutrinos are widely varied and somewhat unpredictable,” stated Argonne physicist Joe Grange, one of the researchers that assisted find mono-energeticneutrinos “This makes it difficult to fully interpret the data.”

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The brand-new discovery might assist experimentalists fix this issue. The researchers understood that mono-energetic neutrinos were being launched from a neighboring neutrino beamline at Fermilab, and they chose to take a look at the MiniBooNE information to see if any of these neutrinos were found throughout that experiment.

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Sure enough, analysis of the MiniBooNE information revealed proof of thousands of neutrino-nucleus crashes where the neutrinos all began with the very same energy, 236 mega-electron-volts (MeV). During the MiniBooNE experiment, particles called kaons produced in a proton absorber of another experiment decomposed into particles called muons and muonneutrinos The muon neutrinos then took a trip to the MiniBooNE detector. Because the kaons were at rest when they decomposed, and due to the fact that they decomposed into just 2 particles, the neutrinos all had the very same quantity of beginning energy prior to hitting the nuclei in the MiniBooNE detector.

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The decay of a kaon is a popular response. “With this discovery, we can improve our understanding of how neutrinos interact with matter and also plan for future experiments that could leverage this interaction for the search for new physics processes,” statedGrange Channeling this decay as a source of neutrinos for experiments would get rid of the unpredictability of the neutrino energies, making analyses easier and possibly more illuminating.

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In addition to motivating future speculative setups, the information are likewise assisting researchers to find out about the habits of nuclei when bombarded with neutrinos and can assist them improve designs of the interactions. When a muon neutrino hits a nucleus in a detector, a muon having one of a variety of various energies can pop out. It is this spectrum of possible energies of the brand-new muons that the researchers observed straight in this research study, and it speaks with the method the neutrino transfers energy to the nucleus upon contact.

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“A lot of work has been done shooting electrons at nuclei and seeing how they behave electromagnetically,” statedGrange “But less work has been done to see how neutrinos interact weakly because of how difficult neutrinos are to work with.”

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The speculative element of this discovery might likewise assist researchers look for the thought sterilized neutrino, a neutrino that just communicates through the gravitational force and not the weak force. A mid-1990 s experiment at DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory yielded neutrino information that were incompatible with information from a different experiment at the European lab CERN, which inconsistency may be described by the presence of this “ghost” particle.

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The initial objective of the MiniBooNE experiment was to verify or refute the presence of sterilizedneutrinos Although the experiment might wind up undetermined, the brand-new discovery from the depths of its information might assist future experimentalists to discover their presence. Scientists are currently working to experiments that will utilize neutrinos from this particular kaon decay to look for sterilized neutrinos.

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“It’s a nice story about how it was almost five years before we realized there was something important in the data,” statedGrange “The moral of the story is to keep all the data and continue thinking about what other information is in there that you haven’t yet extracted.”

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The outcomes of the research study were released in a paper entitled “First Measurement of Monoenergetic Muon Neutrino Charged Current Interactions” in PhysicalReview Letters


Explore even more:
Neutrino experiment at Fermilab provides an unmatchedmeasurement

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More info:
A. A. Aguilar-Arevalo et al, First Measurement of Monoenergetic Muon Neutrino Charged Current Interactions, PhysicalReview Letters(2018). DOI: 10.1103/ PhysRevLett.120141802

Journal referral:
PhysicalReviewLetters

Provided by:
ArgonneNationalLaboratory

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