An “extremely exciting” anomaly discovered in a large experiment could be great news for physics

An “extremely exciting” anomaly discovered in a large experiment could be great news for physics

A strange gap between theoretical expectations and experimental results in a major neutrino research project could be a sign of an elusive “sterile” neutrino: a very silent particle, which can only be detected by the silence it leaves behind. .

This is not the first time we have seen anomalies, as well as previous experimental data suggesting something strange in the world of neutrino research. This time it was discovered in the Baksan experiment on sterile transformations (BEST).

Clear evidence of hypothetical sterile neutrinos could provide physicists with a powerful candidate for supplying dark matter to the mysterious universe. On the other hand, this can simply lead to a problem with the paradigms used to describe old school quirky behaviors. neutrinos.

Which would also be an important moment in the history of physics.

“The results are very exciting,” said Steve Elliott, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“This certainly confirms the anomalies we saw in previous experiments. But what this means is unclear. There are now conflicting results on sterile neutrinos. If the results point to a misunderstanding of basic nuclear or atomic physics, that too It would be very interesting. “

Despite being among the most abundant particles in the universe, neutrinos are known to be difficult to capture. When you only have too much, no electric charge, and you only make your existence known by the weak nuclear force, it is easy to slip through the densest matter without obstacles.

The ghostly movement of the neutrino is not just its intriguing quality. The quantum wave of each particle transforms as it takes off, oscillating between different “flavors” that echo the resonance of negatively charged particles: the electron, the muon, and the tau.

Studies of neutrino oscillations at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States in the 1990s I noticed gaps at the time of this turn that left room for a fourth flavor, which would not occur as a ripple in the weak nuclear domain.

Hidden in silence, the sterile taste of neutrinos will only become apparent with a brief pause in their interactions.

BEST is protected from cosmic neutrino sources beneath a rock mile in the Caucasus Roller Coaster. It has a double-chamber liquid gallium deposit that patiently collects neutrinos emitted by the radioactive chromium nucleus.

After measuring the amount of gallium that has become a germanium isotope in each tank, researchers can work backwards to determine the number of direct collisions with neutrinos as they oscillate in the taste of the ‘electron.

Similar to the “rooster anomaly” in the Los Alamos experiment, the researchers counted one-fifth to one-fourth less germanium than expected, indicating a deficit in the expected number of neutrinos. electronic.

This is not to say that neutrinos have briefly adopted a sterile taste. Many other small weak particle searches come out empty-handed, leaving open the possibility that the models used to predict transitions are a bit misleading.

This is not a bad thing in itself. Corrections to the basic structure of nuclear physics could have significant ramifications, potentially revealing gaps in Standard Form that could lead to explanations for some of the great remaining mysteries of science.

If this is really a sign of a sterile neutrino, we can finally have evidence of matter in large quantities, but it only forms a gravitational screen in the tissue of space.

Whether it’s the sum of dark matter or just a piece of your puzzle will depend on more experiments with the most ghostly particles out there.

This research was published in Physics review letters And the physical check c.

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