London, November 25 (ANI): Particle physicists working on the T2K (Tokai-to-Kamioka) neutrino experiment in Japan have detected the first neutrinos, which are fundamental particles that are amongst the least understood in the Universe.
T2K is an international experiment led by Japan and part funded by the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
It will probe the strange properties of the enigmatic neutrino to unprecedented precision, by firing the most intense neutrino beam ever designed from the east coast of Japan, all the way under the country, to a detector near Japan's west coast.
Neutrino oscillations are one of the frontiers of current particle physics and the T2K project will move us one step closer to understanding the role of the neutrino in the early Universe and may even shed light on the mystery of why there is more matter than anti-matter in the universe.
According to Professor Dave Wark of Imperial College London and the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the International Co-Spokesperson of T2K, "It was extremely satisfying to see the first events in the detector. It has been the result of a lot of hard work by a large number of people."
"Within a year, T2K should have sensitivity to neutrino properties beyond any existing experiment, and the search for the unknown will begin," said Professor Wark.
"Neutrinos are incredibly difficult to detect, but with the skilful engineering that has gone into this experiment, we will soon be able to learn much more about these elusive particles, further understand their role in the formation on the Universe and improve our model of particle physics," said Professor Keith Mason, CEO of the Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC).
Neutrinos interact only weakly with matter, and thus pass effortlessly through the Earth.
They exist in three types, called electron, muon, and tau; linked by particle interactions to their more familiar charged cousins like the electron.
Measurements over the last few decades have shown that neutrinos possess the strange property of neutrino oscillations, whereby one type of neutrino will turn into another as they propagate through space. (ANI)