Physicists at IceCube Neutrino Observatory fail to turn up any Evidence of Sterile Neutrino

Physicists at IceCube Neutrino Observatory fail to turn up any Evidence of Steri

For physicists, last few days were rough. Last week, the Large Hadron Collider scientists said the hoped-for new particle has disappeared. This sad new was followed by another announcement that neutrino hunters seeking new flavor of the ghostly particles also came up empty.

The questioned particles were both only ideas, but in case, they had been found they would have assisted physics in finding a new direction, the much needed one. But they found nothing at all.

Previously this week, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory physicists said they weren’t able to find any proof of a sterile neutrino. All such back-to-back declarations have disappointed physicists.

Neutrinos are a kind of subatomic particle, such as quarks or electrons, but are mainly misanthropic. They continuously speed through our planet, through anything and everything, including us, but interact so minimally that nobody can notice it. Presently, trillions of them have been coursing through us, with negligible mass, making them tough to catch, but anyway physicists have been trying because neutrinos could be helpful in better understanding of the reason behind the universe’s existence. Distribution of matter and antimatter was somehow uneven at the starting of time, resulting into excess of matter. According to some theorists, neutrinos may have played a role in this.

There are three kinds of neutrinos known as flavors: tau, muon, and electron. But some experiments performed mainly at Los Alamos National Laboratory and at the Daya Bay nuclear reactor in Hong Kong, indicated that there could be a fourth flavor, known as sterile neutrino. Sterile neutrino would interact with no matter at all, except could be via gravity. It may have an effect on the interaction between other neutrinos and matter. Thus, in case it exists, it would be helpful in answering a few queries regarding dark matter, and probably other huge cosmic questions.

A report published in popsci informed, "The particles in question were both just ideas, but if they had been discovered, they would have helped physics tack in a new direction, one it sorely needs. But where some scientists hoped to see something strange, they found nothing at all."

Neutrinos come in three types, which are called flavors: muon, electron and tau. But a few experiments, notably at Los Alamos National Laboratory and at the Daya Bay nuclear reactor in Hong Kong, hinted that there might be a fourth flavor. This one, called a sterile neutrino, wouldn’t interact with any matter at all, except maybe through gravity.

To catch a sterile neutrino, you would need to take advantage of one other weird feature of neutrinos: As they travel through the universe, they shape-shift, alternating among their flavors. (This oscillation is one of the things that could contribute to the asymmetry between antimatter and matter in the universe). You could hypothetically catch a sterile neutrino in the act of shape-shifting into another type.

According to a report in CS Monitor by Roya Sabri, "A study published Monday by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory shows that the likelihood of a fourth, 'sterile' neutrino is slim. Unlike other neutrinos, which rarely interact with matter, the sterile neutrino was thought not to interact with matter at all, except possibly through gravity."

Even confirming with 99 percent certainty that sterile neutrinos do not exist, however, requires physicists to look past their simplest models and think about what should be added, Janet Conrad, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says in a video about the research.

“We did not find sterile neutrinos. However, we can’t rule them out completely,” Ben Jones, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Arlington says in the video. “What we can say is that if the anomalies 20 or 30 years ago were caused by sterile neutrinos, we would have expected to see a signal in our detector, and we didn’t see one.”


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