Washington, November 28 (ANI): Physicists have detected the first neutrino events in a science experiment, which would help explain why there is more matter in the universe than anti-matter.
The neutrino events were generated by the newly built neutrino beam at the J-PARC accelerator laboratory in Tokai, Japan, by physicists from the Japanese-led multi-national T2K neutrino collaboration.
Protons from the 30-GeV Main Ring synchrotron were directed onto a carbon target, where their collisions produced charged particles called pions.
These pions travelled through a helium-filled volume where they decayed to produce a beam of the elusive particles called neutrinos.
These neutrinos then flew 200 metres through the earth to a sophisticated detector system capable of making detailed measurements of their energy, direction, and type.
The data from the complex detector system is still being analysed, but the physicists have seen at least 3 neutrino events, in line with the expectation based on the current beam and detector performance.
This detection therefore marks the beginning of the operational phase of the T2K experiment, a 474 physicist, 13 nation collaboration to measure new properties of the ghostly neutrino.
Neutrinos interact only weakly with matter, and thus pass effortlessly through the earth.
Neutrinos 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, notably by the Super Kamiokande and KamLAND neutrino experiments in western Japan, 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.
Neutrino oscillations, which require neutrinos to have mass and therefore were not allowed in our previous theoretical understanding of particle physics, probe new physical laws and are thus of great interest in the study of the fundamental constituents of matter.
They may even be related to the mystery of why there is more matter than anti-matter in the universe, and thus are the focus of intense study worldwide. (ANI)