There are three types of neutrinos, muons, electrons, and taus. According to a press release from William and Mary, the experiment led to the observation of the first neutrino oscillations.
Hence the scientists conclude that some of the missing muon neutrinos did “convert” into electrons along the way.
Neutrinos are neutral subatomic particles unaffected by most atomic forces and with only a smidgen of mass. They’re produced by a variety of high-energy reactions, including the Big Bang, solar fusion, supernovas and nuclear reactions. NOvA co-spokesperson Peter Shanahan with the U.S Department of Energy said that the people who have worked over a course of a decade on the designing, building, commissioning and operating this experiment were gratified.
Thankfully though for Fermilab, the 1st evidence of their oscillating neutrinos have been recorded using the NoVA detector which has justified their giant investment in this fifty feed wide and fifty feet tall instrument which is two-hundred feet long since it delivered exactly what was expected from it.
Presenting the new research at the American Physical Society’s Division of Particles and Fields conference, the scientists explained how they had fired 201 muon neutrinos at NOvA and just 33 made it to the detector.
A postdoctoral researcher working with her, Alex Radovic, is working on the NOvA project and was chosen to write a piece explaining the results for Fermilab Today.
As for the experiment, the neutrino beam generated at Fermilab passes through an underground near detector where its composition is measured. “We also look for those muon neutrinos to just disappear, or really change into any type of neutrino”. About once per second, Fermilab’s accelerator sends trillions of neutrinos to Minnesota, but the elusive neutrinos interact so rarely that only a few will register at the far detector. The team even cross-checked their results and discovered a higher level of oscillation than they originally thought they detected.
Scientists have recorded the neutrino interaction in the far detector in Ash River, Minnesota since February last year with the researchers monitoring the data remotely.
The NOvA experiment was designed to produce and study neutrinos’ unique behavior.
Neutrinos are the most abundant massive particle in the universe but are still poorly understood. Matter and antimatter might have simply annihilated and we might be left with nothing within the universe however power.
The arriving neutrinos featured some electron neutrinos, suggesting they had oscillated along their path through Earth. “If the reply is not in neutrinos, it is one thing actually unique”.