Neutrino Detection?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Disclaimer: I am a novice.

I am wondering if anyone knows if there has been any improvement in detecting any of the three types of neutrinos? I would also be interested in hearing any theories as how we can improve detection? I guess, since I did my research I'm more interested in picking people's brains on their theories.

From my research and articles I read the last best known way to detect neutrinos was using Cherenkov's detectors and Scintillation using large pools of water deep underground. A neutrino would "effect" an electron and cause it to scatter with specific properties (elastic scattering)( reates light when scattering happens in water.) Arthur McDonald and Takaaki Kajita won a Nobel Prize in 2015 using this method. They proved neutrino "oscillation" (neutrinos changing types (one of three) and that neutrinos have, indeed, mass.

I read a post on this forum back in 2011 that linked to an article for a new type of detector(s) that were built in 2011. And thats all she wrote. The article regarding neutrino detection published in 2011: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/46885 [Broken]

I found a list of present and future experiments involving neutrino detection here:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_neutrino_experiments
Most of the experiments listed involve the aforementioned detection methods.

Since we observe neutrinos via electron scattering I am curious if there is any reaction when neutrinos pass through a heavy element like uranium?

Thank you for any theories offered.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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The link is dead, but it probably went to this article.

The neutrinos don't leave a signal themself, so the only way to measure them is to study their influence on other particles:
- scattering with electrons, producing high-energetic electrons, muons or taus. Those can be measured via Cherenkov radiation or other detectors (as an example, OPERA uses photo emulsions and scintillation counters)
- nuclear interactions, producing different isotopes (inverse beta decay), nuclear recoil that leads the nucleus travel through the medium, or disintegrating the nucleus (deuterium -> proton+neutron). Most early experiments used that approach, and it generally has lower energy thresholds (minimal neutrino energy that can be detected).

Since we observe neutrinos via electron scattering I am curious if there is any reaction when neutrinos pass through a heavy element like uranium?
Neutrinos can interact with uranium, sure. Uranium is radioactive, however, so you get a high background that ruins the measurement.
 
  • #3
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Just a hunch but did you see Arthur McDonald's Perimeter Institute lecture about his work on the underground neutrino observatory on Youtube? P.I. put it up last night so I thought there might be a connection to your interest. If that's not the case, though, I'd highly recommend it! He's a really excellent speaker and it runs like 2 hours; aimed at a non-technical audience it's not at all a slog to get through.
 
  • #4
MFB, thank you for your reply. You said:
Uranium is radioactive, however, so you get a high background that ruins the measurement.
May I ask what you mean by "high background"? (Again, please excuse my ignorance)

After I read your response I did Web research and ran across a good article from Stanford that said, in short, the radioactive decay rates, of at least some matter, is reduced when being "interacted" with by neutrinos. This is very mysterious since, most of us know, that neutrinos have very very little interactions, if any, with matter? If the aforementioned is indeed true then would we not then be able to use this decay rate change to detect neutrinos? (I'm sure that is a stupid question but I don't know why) If anyone is interested in the article here is the link: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/august/sun-082310.html

Elheim, I did not post my neutrino question (s) because of a McDonald YouTube article. I am a computer scientist and network engineer and can see the multiple applications of neutrinos if we were able to use them for info transfer, hence my query. I will watch the article. I searched YouTube and the one I found is about 40 minutes long so I am unsure if it is the correct one? Here is the link to the one I found:
http://youtube.br/ztsfBAyufW4 [Broken]

Cheers
 
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  • #6
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@JustinHolmik I'm having trouble bringing up your link but the one I was referring to is: (And I misread 1hr 16mins as 116 minutes so my apologies for that.)

Don't worry about it though I was more recommending it as interesting supplementary material, not necessarily a direct response to your questions.
 
  • #7
The claims by Jenkins and Fischbach about solar neutrinos affecting nuclear decay rates on earth have been discussed here before:
https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/variation-in-radioactive-decay-rates.672946/
Thanks for the response and the time you took to look up the information jtbell but the thread really doesn't talk much about neutrino detection. It speaks more to the possibility of error that solar flares effect decay rates. :cry:

Don't worry about it though I was more recommending it as interesting supplementary material, not necessarily a direct response to your questions.
Thanks eloheim for the link. I am very interested in whatever McDonald has to say. Sorry if there was an issue with the link I provided. For whatever reason my copy and paste ability on this site has issues so I have to write (yes, lol, pen and paper o_O) things down and then re-type them into the post allowing for human error...the bane of my existance.
 
  • #8
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May I ask what you mean by "high background"?
Radioactive decays can look similar to neutrino interactions.
After I read your response I did Web research and ran across a good article from Stanford that said, in short, the radioactive decay rates, of at least some matter, is reduced when being "interacted" with by neutrinos.
There are some measurements that are not understood. That is all that can be said at the moment.

There is inverse beta decay, where nuclei capture neutrinos, but that is a different effect.
 
  • #9
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Hey,
Charged-current experiments at low energy (smaller than the muon rest mass) can only see electron (anti) neutrinos. However, the electron (anti) could be created as another flavour at the source. On the contrary, experiments based on neutral currents can be used to detect neutrinos of all flavours. But, the detection is much more difficult since no charged-particle is created. One example of an experiment which is under construction is the HALO, see https://www.snolab.ca/halo/neutrinoDetection.html .
 
  • #10
Orodruin
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Hey,
Charged-current experiments at low energy (smaller than the muon rest mass) can only see electron (anti) neutrinos. However, the electron (anti) could be created as another flavour at the source. On the contrary, experiments based on neutral currents can be used to detect neutrinos of all flavours. But, the detection is much more difficult since no charged-particle is created. One example of an experiment which is under construction is the HALO, see https://www.snolab.ca/halo/neutrinoDetection.html .
Many WC experiments also use the elastic scattering process (e.g., the Super-K solar neutrino detection). This sees all flavours, but is dominantly sensitive to electron neutrinos due to the CC contribution in addition to the NC one which is there for all flavours, resulting in a 6 times larger cross section.
 

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