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Discovering the Weight of Neutrinos: Tracking Beta Decay in Tritium

Neutrino They are abundant subatomic particles that played an important role in the formation of the universe. Initially, these difficult-to-detect particles were thought to be massless, and according to the latest theory, they must have weight.

What exactly these measurements are has not yet been determined experimentally. An international team of scientists has found a new way to solve this little mystery.

Knowing the mass of neutrinos would be a huge moment for science, including helping to find out how the universe began, but these particles don’t work well with our current instruments and detectors.

The answer, as proposed in a new study, may lie in tracking Beta decayespecially in a rare radioactive form of hydrogen called Tritium. This natural radioactive decay process can be observed, potentially revealing the weight of the neutrinos involved.

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“In principle, as technology develops and improves, we have a realistic chance of reaching the scale necessary to determine the mass of neutrinos.” He said Physicist Brent Vandevender, of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

When Tritium When they decay, they form three subatomic particles: helium ions, electrons, and neutrinos. By knowing the total mass and the masses of other particles, scientists hope that the missing mass is the neutrino mass.

This approach relies on what is known as cyclotron radiation emission spectroscopy, or CRES, which can capture… Microwave radiation the release of electrons as they move through a magnetic field, thereby inferring related neutrino effects.

Neutrinos are very light. He said Physicist Talia Weiss, from Yale University. “It is more than 500,000 times lighter than an electron. Therefore, when neutrinos and electrons are created at the same time, the mass of the neutrino has only a small effect on the movement of the electron.”

“We want to see these small effects. So, we need a very precise way to measure how fast electrons are moving.”

Kris has This has been used before In a similar experiment, the new study is the first to analyze tritium beta decay and determine an upper limit on neutrino mass. Moreover, CRES has the potential to develop and develop better than other similar technologies – although there are still significant technical obstacles that must be overcome.

As the researchers point out, neutrino mass is crucial in physics at all levels, including nuclear physics, particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. Perhaps even as we weigh these particles, we will have a new branch of physics to deal with.

“No one does this” He said Physicist Elise Nowitzki, from the University of Washington. “We don’t take existing technology and try to change it a little. It was like we were living in the Wild West.”

This research was published in Physical review letter.

2023-09-14 04:53:18
#wild #technique #finally #measure #elusive #neutrino #ScienceAlert

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