Because of their minute structure and features, neutrinos have sailed through the particle accelerator unnoticed thus far.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which has become a pilgrimage destination for physicists all over the world since its discovery of subatomic particles, is causing new waves as a proof-of-concept experiment that has discovered the first evidence of neutrino interactions.
Because of their minute structure and features, neutrinos have sailed through the particle accelerator unnoticed thus far. The FASER Collaboration proposed a high-energy physics experiment in 2018 with the goal of directly detecting collider neutrinos for the first time and studying their cross-sections.
The discovery of the first neutrino interaction candidates at the LHC opens the door to high-energy neutrino observations at existing and future colliders. The neutrinos were discovered by slamming a beam of particles against a stationary target rather than colliding with it, which makes studying them easier for scientists than it would be in a collider.
What are neutrinos, and how do they work?
A neutrino is a subatomic particle that has no electric charge and is one of the most prevalent particles in the universe, akin to an electron. They are extremely difficult to detect, according to Scientific America, since they have very little contact with matter. The detection of neutrinos necessitates the use of extremely large and sensitive detectors. A low-energy neutrino will typically travel through normal matter for many light-years before interacting with anything. As a result, all terrestrial neutrino investigations rely on detecting the small proportion of neutrinos that interact in detectors of reasonable size.
Detecting neutrinos on the surface of the Earth
As shown in a report in Science News, researchers utilized a detector with films similar to those used in photography film because a charged particle leaves a trace when it goes through a film. Neutrinos with no electric charge, on the other hand, leave no trace in the detector. However, when these minuscule particles collide with materials inside the detector, a burst of charged particles is produced, pointing to a neutrino as the cause.
While the LHC has been closed for modifications since 2018, the team ran the FASER experiment in the ATLAS detector of the LHC and collected roughly six neutrinos. When the LHC starts operations in 2022, the test run will be extended with FASERv, which is projected to detect roughly 10,000 neutrinos until 2024.
Scientists seek to discover more about neutrinos’ properties, as well as their role in the evolution of matter from elementary particles to more complex compositions around us, as well as exploding stars and supernovas, and other cosmic events.