Electrons Set the Stage for Neutrino Experiments, Helping to Solve the Mystery of Our Matter-Dominated Universe’s Origins

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Electrons Set the Stage for Neutrino Experiments, Helping to Solve the Mystery of Our Matter-Dominated Universe’s Origins

To make the most of upcoming experiments, early-career nuclear physicists demonstrate that a better understanding of how neutrinos interact with matter is required.

Neutrinos may hold the key to finally unlocking a mystery about the origins of our matter-dominated universe, and plans are underway for two major, multibillion-dollar experiments to reveal their secrets.

Now, a group of nuclear physicists is looking to the electron for clues on how to better prepare these experiments to capture critical data.

Their study, which was conducted at the US Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and published in Nature recently, reveals that major updates to neutrino models are required for the experiments to achieve high-precision results.

Neutrinos are everywhere in our universe, as they are produced in large quantities by stars.

Despite their widespread presence, these shy particles rarely interact with matter, making research challenging.

“The phenomenon of neutrinos switching from one type to another is known as neutrino oscillation.

Mariana Khachatryan, a co-lead author on the study who was a graduate student at Old Dominion University in Professor and Eminent Scholar Larry Weinstein’s research group when she contributed to the research, said, “It’s interesting to study this phenomenon because it’s not well understood.”

She now works at Florida International University as a postdoctoral research associate.

Building massive, ultra-sensitive detectors deep underground to measure neutrinos is one way to study neutrino oscillation.

Neutrinos are more likely to interact with detectors that contain dense materials with large nuclei.

Such interactions set off a chain reaction that causes the detectors to pick up a slew of other particles.

Physicists can deduce information about neutrinos using this data.

“Neutrino physicists do this by measuring all particles ejected from neutrinos’ interactions with nuclei and reconstructing the incoming neutrino energy to learn more about the neutrino, its oscillations, and to measure them very, very precisely,” Adi Ashkenazi explained.

Professor Or Hen’s research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology provided Ashkenazi with this project as a research scholar.

She currently works at Tel Aviv University as a senior lecturer.

“The detectors are made of heavy nuclei, and neutrinos interact with these nuclei in extremely complicated ways,” Ashkenazi explained.

“Those neutrino energy reconstruction methods remain difficult, and we’re working to improve the models we use…

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