High Energy Particle Physics

   

Underground Neutrino Discovery

Authors: George Rajna

In a study published in Physical Review Letters, collaborators of the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, an experiment led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have shown they can shield a sensitive, scalable 44-kilogram germanium detector array from background radioactivity. [18] The study has put the most stringent limits on the probability of a rare event—a neutrinoless double beta decay of tellurium-130 nuclei. This event can only occur if a neutrino can be its own antiparticle. [17] While these experiments seem miniature in comparison to others, they could reveal answers about neutrinos that have been hiding from physicists for decades. [16] In a paper published today in the European Physical Journal C, the ATLAS Collaboration reports the first high-precision measurement at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the mass of the W boson. [15] A team of researchers at the University of Michigan has conducted a thought experiment regarding the nature of a universe that could support life without the weak force. [14] The international T2K Collaboration announces a first indication that the dominance of matter over antimatter may originate from the fact that neutrinos and antineutrinos behave differently during those oscillations. [13] Neutrinos are a challenge to study because their interactions with matter are so rare. Particularly elusive has been what's known as coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering, which occurs when a neutrino bumps off the nucleus of an atom. [12] Lately, neutrinos – the tiny, nearly massless particles that many scientists study to better understand the fundamental workings of the universe – have been posing a problem for physicists. [11] Physicists have hypothesized the existence of fundamental particles called sterile neutrinos for decades and a couple of experiments have even caught possible hints of them. However, according to new results from two major international consortia, the chances that these indications were right and that these particles actually exist are now much slimmer. [10]

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[v1] 2018-03-26 12:49:05

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