March 4, 2024

Confirmation of the first detection of neutrinos in a particle accelerator

For the first time, “ghost particles” have been discovered in a particle collider beyond any doubt. The researchers used the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to produce high-energy neutrinos, and the results will be presented at a conference in Italy.

Although neutrinos are among the most abundant particles (second only to photons), they are not easy to detect. It’s just that they don’t interact very well with matter, so they pass through any objects in the universe – including your body, at that very moment.

Billions of neutrinos pass through us every moment without any interaction with our particles. But sometimes some react very briefly, leaving a kind of trail.

To monitor neutrinos, scientists build detectors that are far away from any kind of radiation, as is the case with the IceCube, which is buried in the ice of Antarctica. When the neutrino interacts with the detector material, a particle (electron, muon, or tau) is ejected.

If this particle reaches a speed greater than light in the same medium – the speed of light depends on the medium in which it propagates – blue light is emitted. The problem is that high-energy neutrinos, emitted by events like black hole activity, are hard to detect.

The detector used in the Large Hadron Collider consists of millimeter-thick tungsten plates alternating with layers of emulsion film – 730 films total. Tungsten’s high density increases the probability of interaction with neutrinos; About 1 ton of the element was used.

After detection, the plates are developed (like photographic film) for analysis. So scientists can tell what kind of jets were produced and what kind of particles were produced.

This experiment has been performed on other occasions, with some candidate neutrino particles: one in 2018 and a more promising one in 2021. Now, during the LHC’s new cycle of culls, the researchers have definitively confirmed the discovery.

There is still about three years to go before the new Large Hadron Collider is operational, and it is expected to produce about 10,000 neutrino interactions, estimates physicist David Casper, of the University of California, Irvine. This could have important implications for particle astronomy, such as clues about the dark energy of the universe.

source: UCI News