After more than three years of experiments, physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory successfully find a strong evidence of how neutrinos behave.
Results of the study were presented in the 2018 International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics in Heidelberg, Germany, where scientists demonstrated how neutrinos oscillate with each other within a distance of 500 miles (approximately 805 kilometers).
Evidence from the NOvA experiment has shown that muon antineutrinos oscillated into electron antineutrinos over long distances — a phenomenon which is not observed in previous experiments.
"Antineutrinos are more difficult to make than neutrinos, and they are less likely to interact in our detector," said NOvA co-spokesperson Peter Shanahan. "This first data set is a fraction of our goal, but the number of oscillation events we see is far greater than we would expect if antineutrinos didn't oscillate from muon type to electron."
What Are Neutrinos?
The U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab houses the world's longest-baseline neutrino experiment. Great interest from science experts is dedicated to the study of neutrinos.
Neutrinos are among the basic components of the universe, but it does not comprise any particular matter. Scientists believe that a trillion neutrinos pass through from the sun, although it is not visible in the naked eye.
Neutrinos are similar to electrons except that the former does not have an electric charge. Since neutrinos are not charged, it can pass through any matter without detection, according to John Beacom, a neutrino expert and a professor of physics and astronomy in Ohio State University.
Discoveries Of Neutrinos
In 2001 and 2002, scientists at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada revealed that there is strong indication that electron neutrinos found in the core of the sun can change flavors. These flavors happen when neutrinos disappear and then reappear as another type.
These findings support the 1998 Super-Kamiokande experiment in Japan saying that neutrinos found on Earth's atmosphere changed to another type. Today, those flavors are referred to as muon and tauon neutrinos.
"Neutrinos are real. They're an essential part of physics, shedding light on the origin of mass, the particle-antiparticle asymmetry of the universe, and perhaps the existence of new forces that are too feeble to test with other particles," said Beacom.
Experts at NovA said the latest results provide them an improvement in their method of analysis, which hopefully can lead to a more precise measurement of neutrinos. It has been observed that neutrinos have mass, although data is not enough to measure the relative mass of its three types namely muon, electron, and tau.