Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Sterile Neutrinos

Elusive subatomic particles continue to defy expectations, seeming to “oscillate” out of existence.
December 1, 2016
Representation of neutrino paths swirling in and out of existence

Neutrino measurements confound the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

“There is new physics at work here, and nature is teasing us with a glimpse of it.” - Richard Van de Water, Los Alamos physicist

Neutrinos undergo oscillations, shifting from one state to another in flight. But mounting evidence shows them oscillating into a new, undetectable, or “sterile” state. Earlier this year, one experiment reported the highest-precision measurement to date of a possible sterile-neutrino signal. Yet by late summer, another announced that it had firmly ruled out the sterile neutrino within the expected mass range. Now, Los Alamos, which was first to discover the neutrino anomaly in the 1990s, is working on three new detectors in the hope of solving the longstanding mystery and discovering something fundamentally new in particle physics.

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