Tantalizing and rare neutrino oscillation. The first appearance of electron neutrinos amidst an underground beam of muon neutrinos has been reported by Japan’s T2K collaboration. The three “flavors” of neutrinos—electron, muon, and tau—can quantum mechanically swap identities in transit as long as all three neutrino masses are different. To date, those so-called flavor oscillations have been detected mainly by observing the disappearance, rather than the appearance, of neutrinos of a given flavor; the assumption is that some of the missing neutrinos changed identity en route from their source. Originating at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC), the T2K muon-neutrino beam traveled 295 km to Japan’s Super-Kamiokande detector, where 88 neutrino-interaction events were detected. Of those 88 events, 6 appear to come from electron-type neutrinos. Only 1.5 such events would be expected if the elusive flavor-mixing parameter θ13 were zero. The θ13 result, based on only 2% of...
Stephen G Benka; Tantalizing and rare neutrino oscillation. Physics Today 1 August 2011; 64 (8): 18. https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.1207
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