Unusual Method Could Measure Mysterious Neutrino

Unusual Method Could Measure Mysterious Neutrino
Unusual Method Could Measure Mysterious Neutrino - An example showing how the interaction of an electron with a nucleus is similar to that of a neutrino (v). Photo provided by Jefferson Laboratory.

Numerous subatomic particles called neutrinos play an important role in the structure of the universe. These barely perceptible particles, once thought to have no mass, now appear to have mass.

Experimental research is still needed to determine exactly what this measurement is. An innovative approach to solving this small problem has been developed by an international team of scientists.

The discovery of the mass of a neutrino would be a turning point in science; The most important reason for this is that it will shed light on the early formation of the Universe. However, these particles resisted cooperating with the devices and detectors we currently use.

According to a recent study, the solution may lie in monitoring beta decay, specifically in the rare radioactive form of hydrogen known as tritium. It is possible to witness this process of radioactive decay, which can ultimately reveal the mass of the neutrinos involved.

According to physicist Brent VanDevender of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, “theoretically, with advances in technology and scale-up, we have a realistic chance of getting into the range necessary to detect neutrino mass.”

A helium ion, an electron, and a neutrino are three subatomic particles that are created when tritium decays. Scientists are optimistic that the mass of the neutrino will be the missing component because they are aware of the total mass and the masses of the other particles.

The method is based on a technique called CRES, or cyclotron radiation emission spectroscopy, that can detect microwave radiation from electrons separated as they move through a magnetic field and infer the effects of the accompanying neutrino.

According to Yale University physicist Talia Weiss, “neutrinos are incredibly light.” It weighs more than 500.000 times that of an electron. Therefore, when a neutrino and an electron are produced simultaneously, the mass of the neutrino has little effect on the speed of the electron.

“We are looking for this small effect. Therefore, a very sensitive approach is required to determine how fast electrons are moving.

This latest study is the first to analyze tritium beta decays using CRES, a technique used in previous studies of a similar nature, and to establish an upper limit for neutrino mass. While there are still significant technological hurdles to overcome, CRES has the potential to grow and develop better than other technologies of this type.

The importance of neutrino mass in physics at all scales, including nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, is emphasized by researchers. In fact, when we finally weigh this particle, we may encounter a completely new area of ​​physics.

“No one else is doing this,” said Elise Novitski, a physics professor at the University of Washington. “We are not trying to replace an existing technique.

source: sciencealert

📩 18/09/2023 14:20