Neutrinos are known to be able to change their “flavors,” or identities. But the rules that these fundamental particles follow when they alter their identity are not completely understood. A new study including scientists of the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Technische Universität München now suggests a non-zero value for one of the parameters governing the oscillation of neutrinos. Finding this neutrino property could ultimately help explain why matter formed in the early Universe.
The paper is being published in the journal Physical Review D. Further measuring of neutrino properties is currently being performed in a five-year-experiment at the Chooz facility in France.
Neutrinos have always been mysterious. It took 26 years after their prediction by theoretical physics for the elusive particles to be confirmed, with their existence finally proven experimentally in 1956. The reason for this ordeal: Neutrinos only interact by the weak interaction with other particles of matter. When a cosmic neutrino approaches Earth, it has the best chance of passing through the whole globe unhindered. It is correspondingly difficult to find direct evidence of neutrinos with the help of a detector. Further decades passed in the discussion about their masses: None or small but finite mass?