Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Neutrinos to probe nuclear structure?

  1. Apr 30, 2013 #1
    Do you think it would be possible to use a beam of neutrinos to probe the structure of atomic nuclei? Since they do not interact electronically, they would be useful to study the structure of both neutrons and protons, either through gravitational deflection or weak interactions.

    Could this also be used to study quantum gravity by analogy to electrostatic scattering in quantum electrodynamics?

    *EDIT* If neutrinos couldn't be used, could a beam of quark-gluon plasma be used?
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2013 #2
    You may be interested in reading about deep inelastic scattering.

    Unfortunately, scattering experiments are not useful for trying to see quantum gravity effects because gravity is so weak that any effect it might have on scattering at realistic energies is utterly negligible.
  4. Apr 30, 2013 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    There's been a lot of work done along these lines at Fermilab and CERN since the late 1960s or early 1970s. I worked on one of these experiments for my Ph.D. in the late '70s / early '80s.

    A good phrase for Google searching is "neutrino deep inelastic scattering." For example:


    This wasn't the experiment I worked on (I wasn't at Columbia), but it was about the same time and I remember reading about it and seeing presentations about it. It looks like the analysis pages are all gone from that site, but the introductory and history pages are still there.

    [Ah, the duck beat me to it while I was Googling and reliving old memories.]
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  5. Apr 30, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    In high-energetic collisions, neutrons and protons are not so different - the sea quarks and gluons are the same for both, and both up and down valence quarks have an electric charge (the up just has a larger value). Most interactions happen via the strong interaction, which does not care about the electric charge.
  6. May 1, 2013 #5
    Okay. well, since nucleons are made of three quarks, one of which has a different electric charge, at any point in time the nucleons must have an instantaneous dipole moment, right? Can this be useful to study their motion?
  7. May 1, 2013 #6
  8. May 1, 2013 #7
    Thanks for enlightening me. I love nature. :)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook