Researchers have found the strongest evidence towards the existence of inexplicable particles that have the ability to pass through matter without interaction called sterile neutrinos
The evolution of particle detection enabled scientists to discover an abundance of the noted lightweight subatomic particles, in addition to antineutrinos as reported on May 30 at arXiv.
Recent detections are similar to a neutrino excess discovered over two decades ago. In the mid-1990’s, the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND), an experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, found minimal evidence of the sterile neutrinos, which led to a halt in further research.
New results now leave researchers with two substantial experiments that seem to demonstrate the existence of sterile neutrinos, even as other experiments continue to suggest sterile neutrinos do not exist.
Recent experiments at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), named MiniBooNE, have acquired the hidden particle’s new activities in research. A new paper posted to arXiv offers compelling evidence regarding the missing neutrino to influence the attention of physicists this year.
Kate Scholberg, a particle physicist at Duke University says the MiniBooNE experiment results could prompt an evolution in the analytical framework. “That would be huge; that’s beyond the standard model; that would require new particles and an all-new analytical framework,” Scholberg states.
The Standard Model of physics has dominated scientists’ understanding of the universe for more than half a century. Particles, such as quarks and electrons, represent the building blocks of the atoms that comprise all tangible objects. Contrarily, electron, muon and tau neutrinos are more abstract, as they are high-energy particles that stream through the universe, barely interacting with other matter.
The three known particles interact with matter through both the weak force (one of the four fundamental forces of the universe) and gravity. Specialized detectors can find them, streaming down from the sun as well as from certain human sources, such as nuclear reactions. However, the LSND experiment, Scholberg told Live Science, provided the first firm evidence that what humans could detect might not be the full picture.
Both experiments have now reported more neutrino detections than The Standard Model’s description of neutrino oscillation can explain, the authors wrote in the paper. Their findings suggest that the neutrinos are oscillating into hidden, heavier, “sterile” neutrinos that the detector can not directly detect before oscillating back into the detectable realm.
“If LSND and MiniBooNE were the only neutrino experiments on Earth,” Scholberg said, “that would be the end of the matter,” Scholberg explained further that the Standard Model would be updated to include some sort of sterile neutrino.
Other major neutrino experiments, like the underground Oscillation Project with Emulsion-Tracking Apparatus experiment in Switzerland, have not discovered the anomaly that both LSND and MiniBooNE have now seen.
As recently as 2017, after the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica failed to turn up evidence for sterile neutrinos, researchers revealed another reported signal of the particles had been a mistake and was actually the result of bad calculations.