Calendar of Events
Using Neutrons to Measure Fundamental Neutrino Properties at MINERvA
Speaker: Andrew Olivier, University of Notre Dame
Abstract: Neutrino physics is an important frontier for modern particle physics. The field bridges the remarkably successful Standard Model of particle physics with measurements that it cannot yet explain. Current and near-future neutrino oscillation experiments aim to measure CP violation in neutrino oscillations which could be one of a handful of mechanisms by which antimatter behaves differently than matter. These experiments need more realistic models of neutrino scattering on heavier nuclei with smaller uncertainties in order to resolve the CP-violating phase in neutrino oscillations.
The MINERvA collaboration at Fermilab studies how neutrino scattering cross sections change as a function of nucleus size. The experiment's detector works like a camera for charged particles. The MINERvA collaboration recently measured one of the fundamental building blocks for the theory of neutrino interactions on complex nuclei: the charged current elastic (CCE) cross section on a free proton. This measurement is unique among high statistics CCE measurements because it measures the axial-vector form factor, which is only a leading effect for weak force scattering, and it uses neutron detection to drastically reduce backgrounds. Neutrons have generally been ignored by modern accelerator neutrino experiments because they are difficult to detect. The MINERvA collaboration developed novel techniques to identify well-understood neutrons and quantify uncertainties on neutron physics in hydrocarbon tracking detectors for this measurement.
Host: Ron Ransome