Neutrino aka 'Ghost Particle' interaction at Large Hadron Collider: First Evidence


The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which has emerged as the holy site for physicists the world over after its discovery of the subatomic particles, is once again gaining ground as a proof-of-concept experiment where the first evidence of neutrino interactions has been spotted.

What are Neutrinos?

Neutrinos aka Ghost Particles are the most abundant subatomic particles in the universe, with no electric charge, similar to an electron. According to Scientists, they have very little interaction with matter, hence they are incredibly difficult to detect.

How Neutrinos are detected?

Very large and Very sensitive detectors are required to detect neutrinos. Typically, a low-energy neutrino will travel through many light-years of the normal matter before interacting with anything. Consequently, all terrestrial neutrino experiments rely on measuring the tiny fraction of neutrinos that interact in reasonably sized detectors. Natural sources of neutrinos include the radioactive decay of primordial elements within the earth. Neutrinos have so far been sailing through the particle accelerator unnoticed due to their minute structure and properties. The high energy physics experiment proposed by FASER Collaboration in 2018 was designed to directly detect collider neutrinos for the first time and study their cross-sections.

The First Evidence of Interaction

The team has now observed the first Ghost Particle interaction candidates at the LHC, which paves the way for high-energy neutrino measurements at current and future colliders. The neutrinos have been detected by smashing a beam of particles into a stationary target, but not in collisions, which makes the study of these neutrinos less difficult for scientists, which is otherwise tough in a collider.

Detecting Ghost Particle on Earth

According to a report in Science News, researchers used a detector containing films similar to those used in the photographic film as when a charged particle passes through a film, it leaves behind a track. However, neutrinos with no electric charge do not leave behind a trail in the detector. But when these small particles interact with matter inside the detector, it produces a spurt of charged particles that point to a neutrino as their source. While the LHC is closed for upgrades in 2018, the team performed the FASER in the LHC’s ATLAS detector and caught about six neutrinos. The test run will be furthered with FASERv when the LHC begins operations in 2022 and is expected to detect around 10,000 neutrinos till 2024. Scientists are keen to learn the properties of Ghost Particles, their role in how matter evolved from simple particles into more complex compositions around us, exploding stars and supernovas and others in cosmic developments in the universe. Read all trending updates here

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