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CERN detects 'ghost particles'

It seems that scientists have finally managed to detect neutrino candidates produced by the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN facility near Geneva, Switzerland. The experiment called FASER picked up telltale signals from neutrinos that are produced in particle collisions , which may help scientists better understand the keys to physics.

The FASERĪ½ instrument, which is located 480 meters from the ATLAS interaction point at the Large Hadron Collider, is composed of lead and tungsten plates alternating with emulsion layers. During particle collisions at the LHC, some of the neutrinos produced collide with dense metal nuclei, creating particles that travel through the emulsion layers and create imprints that are visible after processing, so it can be inferred whether they are neutrinos or antineutrinos.

"Prior to this project, no sign of neutrinos had ever been seen in a particle collider. This significant advance is a step towards developing a deeper understanding of these elusive particles and the role they play in the universe," explains Jonathan Feng, professor of physics and astronomy at UCI and co-leader of the FASER collaboration in his article published in the journal Physical Review D.

The researchers observed six neutrino interactions during a pilot run of a compact emulsion detector installed at the LHC in 2018 . The discovery yielded two realities: "first, it verified that the position ahead of the ATLAS interaction point at the LHC is the correct location to detect colliding neutrinos; second, our efforts demonstrated the effectiveness of using an emulsion detector to observe this type of neutrino interactions," Feng continues.

Without a doubt, this advance is another step towards a deeper understanding of these elusive particles and the role they play in our universe, according to the authors of the work.

What's next?

"Having verified the effectiveness of the emulsion detector approach to observe the interactions of neutrinos produced in a particle collider, we are now preparing a new series of experiments with a complete instrument that is much larger and significantly more sensitive," says Feng. .

We will see it from 2022.

"There have only been about 10 observations of tau neutrinos in the entire history of mankind, but we hope that our team can double or triple that number in the next three years ," concludes the physicist.

The FASER team consists of 76 physicists from 21 institutions in nine countries and is combining a new emulsion detector with the FASER apparatus that will be able to observe all three flavors (tau, muon, or electron) plus their antineutrino counterparts.

Reference: Henso Abreu et al. (FASER Collaboration). 2021. First neutrino interaction candidates at the LHC. Phys. Rev. D 104 (9): L091101; doi: 10.1103/PhysRevD.104.L091101

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