reactions of interest
Beta decay, also called beta minus decay
n0 → p+ + e− + ν0
Positron emission, also called beta plus decay, since it's a kind of decay
p+ → n0 + e+ + ν0
Electron capture, described as a decay process, but it's really more of a reaction
e− + p+ → n0 + ν0
Inverse beta decay — should be called neutrino capture. It's another even that would be better described as a reaction.
ν0 + p+ → n0 + e+
Electron-neutrino scattering (should this be here, or in another subsection?)
- νe + e− → νe + e−
- νμ + e− → νμ + e−
- ντ + e− → ντ + e−
È un neutrone? No, è un neutrino.
The name neutrino is a a bit of wordplay attributed to the Italian physicist Edoardo Amaldi (1908–1989). To understand the joke, you need to know a little Italian grammar.
An augmentative is a form of a word that indicates bigness or intensity. In Italian this is done by adding the suffix -one to a word. Some augmentative words in Italian that readers might recognize are…
- trombone: a "big trumpet" (tromba = trumpet)
- minestrone: a "big soup", where big means hearty (minestra = soup)
- milione: a "big thousand", the origin of the English word million (mille = thousand)
- neutrone: a "big neutral", spelled nearly the same as the English word neutron but pronounced with four syllables, ne-u-tro-ne
Replace -one with -ino and you have a diminutive. This makes a word small and cute and innocuous. Some diminutive words in Italian that readers might recognize are…
- bambino: a baby, a "little fool" (bambo = fool or silly person)
- panino: a bread roll, a "little bread" (pane = bread), but English speaking people usually associate the plural of this word, panini, with a grilled sandwich
- cappuccino: a coffee and milk drink, a "little monk" (cappuccio = the hood of a monk's cloak); the brown and white color of the drink resembles the brown and white attire of some monks
- neutrino: a "little neutral", spelled exactly the same as the English word neutrino but pronounced with four syllables, ne-u-tri-no
What makes the word neutrino witty in Italian is that it's grammatically incorrect. The new particle really should have been called a neutronino, since the word neutrone is not an augmentative. When Amaldi used the wrong diminutive for the newer word (neutr-ino) it implied that older word was an augmentative (neutr-one), which it isn't. Thus the joke.
This is the best quote I can find to support this.
The name "neutrino" (a funny and grammatically incorrect contraction of "little neutron" in Italian: neutronino) entered the international terminology through Fermi, who started to use it sometime between the conference in Paris in July 1932 and the Solvay Conference in October 1933 where Pauli used it. The word came out in a humorous conversation at the Istituto di Via Panisperna. Fermi, Amaldi and a few others were present and Fermi was explaining Pauli's hypothesis about his "light neutron". For distinguishing this particle from the Chadwick neutron Amaldi jokingly used this funny name, — says Occhialini, who recalls of having shortly later told around this little story in Cambridge.
Eduardo Amaldi, 1984
- Certain materials had been observed to emit electrons (beta decay). Since both the atom and the nucleus have discrete energy levels, it is hard to see how electrons produced in transition could have a continuous spectrum (see 1930 for an answer.)
- Wolfgang Pauli suggests the neutrino to explain the continuous electron spectrum for beta decay.
- Enrico Fermi puts forth a theory of beta decay that introduces the weak interaction. This is the first theory to explicitly use neutrinos and particle flavor changes.
- Frederick Reines and Clyde Cowan detect antineutrinos
- Julian Schwinger, Sidney Bludman, and Sheldon Glashow, in separate papers, suggest that all weak interactions are mediated by charged heavy bosons, later called W+ and W−. Actually, it was Yukawa who first discussed boson exchange twenty years earlier, but he proposed the pion as the mediator of the weak force.
- Experiments verify that there are two distinct types of neutrinos (electron and muon neutrinos). This was earlier inferred from theoretical considerations.
- Leon Lederman shows that the electron neutrino is distinct from the muon neutrino
- Steven Weinberg puts forth his electroweak model of leptons
- Gerard 't Hooft shows that the Glashow-Salam-Weinberg electroweak model can be renormalized
Quotes from forgotten sources.
- The existence of neutrinos was first proposed by Wolfgang Pauli in a 1930 letter to his physics colleagues as a "desperate way out" of the apparent non-conservation of energy in certain radioactive decays (called beta decays) in which electrons were emitted. According to Pauli's hypothesis, which he put forward very hesitantly, neutrinos are elusive particles which escape with the missing energy in beta decays. The mathematical theory of beta decay was formulated by Enrico Fermi in 1934 in a paper which was rejected by the journal Nature because "it contained speculations too remote from reality to be of interest to the reader".
- The weak nuclear force causes instability in some nuclei. This is the force that causes radioactive decay. Electric change produces electromagnetic forces and color produces strong force. Leptons have no color, so they do not participate in the strong interactions; neutrinos have no change, so they experience no electromagnetic forces, but all of them join in the weak interactions. There are two kinds of weak interactions: charged mediated by the W's and neutral mediated by the Z.
- The "electroweak" interactions are a unification of the electromagnetic and nuclear weak interactions, and are described by the Weinberg-Salam theory (sometimes called "quantum flavordynamics"; also called the Glashow-Weinberg-Salam theory)
- anti-neutrino + proton -> neutron + positron. The target was water with CdCl2 dissolved in it. The positron was detected by its slowing down and annihilating with an electron producing two 0.5 MeV gamma rays in opposite directions. The pair of gamma rays was detected in time coincidence in liquid scintillator above and below the water by photomultiplier tubes detecting the scintillation light. The neutron was also slowed by the water and captured by the cadmium microseconds after the positron capture. In the capture several gamma rays were emitted which were also detected in the scintillator as a delayed coincidence after the positron's annihilation gamma ray detection. The detector contained 200 liters of water in two tanks with up to 40 kg of dissolved CdCl2. The water tanks were sandwiched between three scintillator layers which contained 110 5" photomultipliers each, and the whole experiment measured only about 2 meters in each direction.
- The search was like listening for a gnat's whisper in a hurricane. -- Frederick Reines, discoverer of the neutrino
- They're probably as near to nothing as anything we know. They pass through the Earth as easily as a bullet through a bank of fog. If we could see with neutrino eyes, night would be as bright as day. They're passing through the universe like mere spectators. There's probably more neutrinos in the universe than any other particle that we know — and yet, paradoxically, we know less about them than anything else. 60 million of them are passing through our eyeballs every second without us seeing them. If there's enough neutrinos around and you've got a big enough net you might occasionally capture one.
- Sheldon Glashow (1932–0000) USA
- Abdus Salam (1926–1996) Pakistan–England
- Steven Weinberg (1933–2021) USA
- The weak force is different from the other forces because:
- It is the only force that violates parity-symmetry (P).
- It is the only force that violates charge-parity symmetry (CP).
- It is the only interaction that can change one kind of quark into another or its flavor.
- The weak force is propagated by carrier particles that have significant masses (about 90 GeV/c).
- The key quantum number for particles in the weak interaction is a physical property known as the weak isospin, which is equivalent to the role that electric spin plays in the electromagnetic force and color charge in the strong force. This is a conserved quantity, meaning that any weak interaction will have a total isospin sum at the end of the interaction as it had at the beginning of the interaction.
- +½: electron neutrino, muon neutrino, tau neutrino, up quark, charm quark, top quark
- −½: electron, muon, tau, down quark, strange quark, bottom quark
- The Z boson and W boson are both much more massive than the other gauge bosons that mediate the other forces (the photon for electromagnetism and the gluon for the strong nuclear force). The particles are so massive that they decay very quickly in most circumstances.
Quote that must be paraphrased
from the Nobel website…
The neutrino was postulated in 1930 by Pauli to explain the continuous energy spectrum of electrons emitted in nuclear β decay. Fermi's theory for weak interactions was developed during the 1930's. At the time, neutrino interaction cross-sections were considered too small for neutrino detection. However, the large neutrino fluxes that later became available with nuclear reactors opened the field of neutrino physics. The experimental confirmation of the neutrino came in an experiment in 1955 by Cowan and Reines. Pontecorvo and Alvarez (Pontecorvo 1946, Alvarez 1949) suggested reactor experiments using the reaction ν + 37Cl → 37Ar + e− to detect the neutrino. At the time there was no clear distinction between neutrino and antineutrino. The reaction often goes by the name the Davis-Pontecorvo reaction. The threshold energy is 0.81 MeV and the Argon isotope decays via electron capture with a half-life of 35 days.
Gravity was long believed to be the energy source of the Sun. By 1920 it was known that the Sun was mainly composed of helium and hydrogen and Eddington proposed that nuclear fusion was the energy source. However, it took until 1938 before there was a complete theory of the nuclear reactions within the Sun (Bethe and Chritchfield 1938, Bethe 1939). It was a challenge to prove experimentally that nuclear burning was the energy source of the Sun.
Raymond Davis Jr did his first reactor-based chlorine neutrino experiment at Brookhaven in the early 1950s. He used a tank filled with 3,900 liters of CCl4 as a target. Helium was bubbled through the tank to remove the few argon atoms. The radioactive argon could then be removed from the helium by passing the gas through a charcoal trap with liquid nitrogen (−196 °C) which adsorbs the argon quantitatively and allow helium to pass.
Neutrinos are very abundant in the Universe. Indeed, the ratio between neutrinos and nucleons (protons or neutrons) in the Universe is about 109. On the Earth, the dominant source of neutrinos is our Sun. Every second more than 10 billion (1010) neutrinos pass through every cm2, the majority with low energy (< 0.4 MeV). Only 0.01% of the solar neutrinos have an energy larger than 5 MeV.
A new and 100 times larger experiment was proposed based on Davis' radiochemical method and on Bahcall's calculated rate of 40 ± 20 SNU (1 SNU = 1 Solar Neutrino Unit, 1 capture per second and per 1,036 target atoms) (Davis 1964, Bahcall 1964). Davis experiment was funded and installed in the Homestake Gold Mine, Lead, South Dakota (depth 1,500 m). The tank contained 615 tonnes of C2Cl4, an agent normally used for dry cleaning. It was ready to start data taking in 1967. The extraction of argon by helium was done approximately once every two months to match the half-life of 37Ar.
The first results from Davis came in 1968, based on 150 days of data taking (Davis et al. 1968). An upper limit of the solar neutrino flux of 3 SNU was given, much lower than the then calculated rate of 20 SNU (Davis et al. 1968). In this 1968 paper is discussed different possibilities to improve the sensitivity and in particular how to reduce the background. The experimental challenge, that Davis was so successful in meeting, was to extract an average of only 17 argon atoms among the 2 x 1030 chlorine atoms in the tank every second month.
Davis experiment was running almost continuously from 1970 until 1994. The final results were published in 1998 (fig. 2, Cleveland et al. 1998). During this time it is estimated that a total of 2,200 argon atoms were produced in the tank. Of these 1997 were extracted and 875 counted in the proportional counter. Of the latter, 776 are estimated to be produced by solar neutrinos and 109 by background processes. The production in the tank was 0.48 ± 0.03 (stat.) ± 0.03 (syst.) argon atoms per day, corresponding to 2.56 ± 0.16 (stat.) ± 0.16 (syst.) SNU. Davis was a true pioneer and his successful mastering of the extraction of a few atoms out of 1030 gave birth to a new field of neutrino physics.
Intermediate vector bosons
- W+, W−, Z0
Source of neutrinos
- radioactive β decay (anti electron neutrinos) primarily from 238U, 235U, 239Pu, 241Pu in nuclear fission reactors, weapons and waste
- particle accelerators (νμ and ντ ) Fermilab's Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS)
- geological (geoneutrinos)
- radioactive β decay (antineutrinos) primarily of 238U, 232Th, 40K
- solar, fusion byproducts (νe)
- atmospheric, cosmic ray shrapnel (νμ and ντ )
- supernovas, ~98% of the energy is released in the form of neutrino-antineutrino pairs of all flavors from the cooling phase, ~1% is in the form of electron neutrinos from the core collapse, and the remaining ~1% is in the form of electromagnetic radiation
- SN 1987A detected neutrinos, estimated total energy of SN 1987A ~1046 joules, additional neutrino events recorded at Earth in a period ~10 s
- 12 Kamiokande II (Kamioka Nucleon Decay Experiment)
- 8 IMB (Irvine-Michigan-Brookhaven) water-Cherenkov proton decay and neutrino detector
- 5 Baksan
- 5 Mont Blanc, unusual since they were detected ~5 hours earlier than Kamiokande and IMB
- SN 1987A detected neutrinos, estimated total energy of SN 1987A ~1046 joules, additional neutrino events recorded at Earth in a period ~10 s
- cosmic background radiation (not to be confused with the cosmic microwave background or CMB)
Necessary extensions to QFD
Neutrinos have no charge, interact infrequently with other particles, and are probably massless. The Sun produces huge numbers of neutrinos every second, but detectors on Earth haven't seen them in the numbers solar physicists expected. Obviously, we have a problem here.
Is it the Sun? That's not even the right question. The Sun does what it does no matter what physicists say or don't say. The real question is, are there problems with our current models of the Sun? Maybe, but probably not. Models of the Sun have otherwise been quite successful. Why should they fail on this one account? Is it the detectors? Probably not. Neutrinos may be governed by the weak force, but this doesn't make them undetectable. When used to measure the neutrino output from other sources they too have been quite successful. If the problem isn't with solar models or neutrino detectors it must lie in the space between the Sun and the detectors. Something's happening to the solar neutrinos on their 150 million kilometer journey.
The short answer is it's a flavor thing. When speaking of subatomic particles, it might be correct to say "the electron", but it is not at all correct to say "the neutrino". The word neutrino refers to a small group of three different, but similar particles: the electron neutrino, the muon neutrino, and the tau neutrino.
Neutrinos are exactly massless in the standard model, but recent experimental observations show neutrinos oscillating between different flavors. This implies that neutrinos are very, very light, but not massless. In addition, the mixing ratios hint at the possibility of a fourth neutrino; the sterile neutrino, so called as it does not appear to interact with any other particle. Maybe this really isn't a weak link — more of an unresolved problem.
Current experiment: The MINOS (Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search) experiment at Fermilab. Neutrinos are created at a known rate at the laboratory in Batavia, Illinois (a western suburb of Chicago) and directed through the Earth to a detector in an abandoned iron mine in Soudan, Minnesota (near the Canadian border). The idea is this: measure the number of neutrinos produced at Fermilab and the number detected at the iron mine in Soudan. The important calculation is the number of neutrinos that were "lost" along the way. standard model predictions at the time predict that none should be lost, but earlier experiments hint at the possibility of neutrino oscillations. If the number detected in Minnesota is significantly different from the number generated in Illinois, then the standard model as it is currently interpreted is in need of modification.
1964: François Englert and Robert Brout at L'Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium; Peter Higgs at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland; and Gerald Guralnik, Carl Hagen, and Tom Kibble at Imperial College, London
According to the standard model, the W and Z bosons should be massless, but experimental evidence shows them to be quite heavy. A way around this is to introduce another variety of intermediate vector boson called the Higgs particle, Higgs boson, or (my personal favorite) higgson. When W and Z particles interact with the higgson, they acquire mass.
- In the standard model, there is exactly one Higgs doublet.
- In the minimal supersymmetric standard model, there are five Higgs bosons: three neutral ones (h0, H0, and A0) and two charged ones, (H+ and H−).
Four methods for producing a Higgs particle.