Physicists Propose Search for 4th Neutrino
by Lisa Zyga
Physicists know that neutrinos (and antineutrinos) come in three flavors: electron, muon, and tau. In several experiments, researchers have detected each of the neutrino flavors and even watched them “oscillate” back and forth between flavors.
But starting in the early ‘90s, some experiments have also revealed a nagging anomaly: muon antineutrinos oscillate into electron antineutrinos at a 3% higher rate than predicted. Physicists can reconcile this discrepancy by adding a fourth neutrino with a specific mass, although such a move would require modifying the Standard Model, the theory of subatomic particles that has taken decades to build. In a new study, a team of physicists thinks it’s time to put the question of the fourth neutrino’s existence to the test.
In their study published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters, Michel Cribier, et al., have proposed an experiment that would reveal whether a fourth flavor of neutrino really exists. If it does, then it would have huge implications not only for neutrino science , but also for understanding the building blocks of matter overall…
(read more: PhysOrg) (image: L. Scola (CEA))