Sterile neutrinos: physicists can’t find mysterious theoretical particles

After decades of research, physicists have not come close to discovering theorized particles that may help solve ongoing problems in physics.


October 27, 2021


Part of the MicroBooNE neutrino experiment

Cindia Nord

The search for a mysterious theoretical particle known as Sterile Neutrino has been emptied again. Neutrinos are very light subatomic particles that interact very little with ordinary matter. There are three known types, and the fourth type has been searched for decades. Currently, a new series of analyzes could not find any indication that it exists.

Sterile neutrinos are named because, unlike the other three types, they interact only through gravity and not with other fundamental forces. Many theoretical physicists thought the idea of ​​sterile neutrinos was promising because it could explain some of the anomalies found in particle physics experiments and are related to that mystery. .. Dark matter.. However, neutrinos are so small that they interact very weakly with other matter and can only be observed indirectly through the products of collisions with other particles.

Two in the 1990s and early 2000s Neutrino experiment We found more of these products than expected. However, neither of them could tell the difference between an electron and a photon from the result. And sterile neutrinos only generated extra electrons, not photons. A new experiment called MicroBooNE at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois shows the difference, but the first three years of data show no extra neutrino products.

“I was really hoping for an excess of either photons or electrons, but not either, which raises even more questions,” said a MicroBooNE spokeswoman. increase. Justin Evans At the University of Manchester, England. He says it may refer to a more exotic physical process that has not yet been considered, as there is no way to explain the previous results.

That’s why Find Sterile Neutrinos that’s all? “We definitely haven’t seen evidence of sterile neutrinos,” says Evans. “Whether it’s completely dead depends on who you ask, but incorporating sterile neutrinos into particle physics models requires more creativity.”

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