Neutrinos: why uninteractive?

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In summary: Is it clear. I can still edit it.In summary, neutrinos are particles that are known for their relatively uninteractive nature. This is due to their negligible mass, lack of charge, and weak interactions with other particles. The Glashow-Salam-Weinberg theory states that the charge for weak interaction of a neutrino is identical to its charge for electromagnetic interactions, but due to the mass of the exchanged particles in each interaction, the effective charge for weak interactions is much smaller. This has been observed in experiments, such as the detection of neutrinos from the sun and their interactions with heavy water in detectors.
  • #1
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If i remember correctly from astrophysics. Neutrinos are said to be relatively uninteractive. Now is that statement an theory or a fact?
whereby "fact" i mean that we see it pass through without interacting
and "theory" we observe the effects of 1 neutrino going into a system
and coming out of a system and we assume its the same one.
 
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  • #2
neurocomp2003 said:
If i remember correctly from astrophysics. Neutrinos are said to be relatively uninteractive. Now is that statement an theory or a fact?
whereby "fact" i mean that we see it pass through without interacting
and "theory" we observe the effects of 1 neutrino going into a system
and coming out of a system and we assume its the same one.


I don't know if I understand your question very well, but here is a shot. Neutrinos only interact through the weak force. They have cross sections of the order 10^-30 cm^2 even at high energies (see http://pdg.lbl.gov/ for more info). This very small cross section indicates that they do not interact very easily with ordinary matter. This has been seen experimentally in supernova explosions in which the neutrinos hit the detectors hours before the photons did (there was a thread around here about this just the other week). There is nothing weird about that happening when you understand that neutrinos did not get scattered (very often) once they were produced but the photons which interact via electrodynamics, are rescattered many times in matter. So both experimentally and theoretically the weakly interacting neutrino is understood.
hope this helps.
Cheers,
Norm
 
  • #3
I'm quoting from memory (so may be wrong) but about 250 000 neutrinos pass through every cm^2 of the face of the Earth facing the Sun every second! These pass straight through and out the other side. After neutrinos were theorized as an entity (to help explain the apparent energy and momentum loss in Beta decay) scientists spent about 30 years trying to detect neutrinos before they managed to finally accomplish this - this was despite the huge number of neutrinos coming from the Sun.

That gives some idea of how unreactive with matter they are. I read somewhere that the average neutrino could pass through several light years of solid lead without interacting!

Do a Google search and read about the discovery of the neutrino - it certainly took some doing!
 
  • #4
Negligible mass. No charge. No strong interactions.

Neutrino detectors are typically buried very deep in the ground to filter out alternative interference. We know how many neutrios are produced in nuclear reactions from experiment. We can estimate how many of those reactions take place in the sun based on the aggregate observations of light from the sun. We can observe how many interactions there are between the heavy water in a neutrio dectector and neutrios because the interactions produce a burst of light which photomultipliers can catch. Interactivity is a function of observed detections and the number of neurtinos known to be headed our way from the sun.
 
  • #5
In the Glashow-Salam-Weinberg theory of electro-weak interaction, the "charge" for "weak" interaction of a neutrino is identical to the charge for EM interactions.
The neutrino appears to interact weakly because its effective charge squared in beta decay or low energy scattering is alpha*(M_p/M_W)^2, which is quite small.
In high (very high) energy scattering neutrinos interact as strongly as electrons.
 
  • #6
Dear Meir Achuz,

> alpha*(M_p/M_W)^2

What's M_p in this formula? The proton mass? If so, then why does this come into the effective charge?

Also, I thought there was a small difference between the magnitude of electric charges and weak charges, something like sqrt(3).

Carl
 
  • #7
M_p is the mass of the proton. I will have to go into a bit more detail.
The difference in EM and Weak interactions (WI) is in the mass of the exchanged particle. For WI, it is the W or Z particle, whilch have masses of 80 and 90 GeV.
This puts a factor like Q^2/(M_W^2+Q^2) into the interaction (in momentum space).
Q^2 is the momentum transfer in a scattering process.
For EM, the exchanged particle is the massless photon.
The factor is of order Q'^2/Q^2~1. The two Q^2 are different, but of the same order of magnitiude. At low Q^2, the WI has the dependence Q^2/M^2.
Fermi's theory of beta decay was developed 50 years before the W and Z were known, so he used Q^2/M_p^2 in defining what became known as the "Fermi coupling constant" of WI. This is the origin of the factor (M_p/M_W)^2.
Factors like sqrt(3) or sometimes sqrt(4pi) come from varying conventions.
They don't affect the order of magnitude. The absolulte equality of the fundamental dimensionless WI and EM couplings is important in the GSW theory, because it leads to a cancellation of some high energy divergences. This was one of the original motivations.
Now, I have written a chapter.
 

1. What are neutrinos?

Neutrinos are subatomic particles that have no electric charge and are incredibly light. They are one of the fundamental particles that make up our universe.

2. Why are neutrinos considered uninteractive?

Neutrinos are considered uninteractive because they very rarely interact with other particles. They have a very weak interaction with matter, making them difficult to detect and study.

3. What is the significance of neutrinos being uninteractive?

The fact that neutrinos are uninteractive makes them valuable tools for studying the universe. Since they can travel great distances without being affected by other particles, they can provide insight into distant and extreme environments, such as the center of the sun or a supernova explosion.

4. How do scientists study neutrinos if they are uninteractive?

Scientists study neutrinos by using specialized detectors, such as large underground tanks filled with water or ice. When a neutrino interacts with the atoms in the detector, it produces a small flash of light that can be detected and analyzed.

5. Are there different types of neutrinos?

Yes, there are three known types of neutrinos: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos, and tau neutrinos. Each type has a different mass and interacts with matter in slightly different ways.

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