The universe still keeps us alive on its mysterious cradle while a few wisemen try to untangle all the unearthed enigmas it holds against us. Up until now, we have failed to find out the exact reason why there is more matter than antimatter out there. The only thing we know about it is that this imbalance has made possible our existence, as otherwise everything would have destroyed itself in an immediate flash of gamma rays.
However, science has progressed to the point where scientists know better where to look for answers. A potential answer could be triggered by the tiniest particles we know of, namely neutrinos. Experts have basically stopped to analyze the root of all things, the micro universe which hides macro mysteries.
Neutrinos are particles with tiny mases, electrically neutral. They hold more esoteric properties and are known to interact with atoms. The fascinating thing about them is that they are in constant change of nature as they travel. The mentioned change is also known as neutrino oscillation and a list of extended experiments studying the phenomena are aimed at measuring neutrino masses and reveal their exact phases of change.
Most insightful experiments have started one year ago, when boffins have been gathering data and recording interaction of these elusive structures as they worked their magic in a build-up space known as Fermilab. This is a 14.000 ton far detector based in Ash River, Minnesota.
The constant changes neutrinos are going through or the oscillation was only hypothetical and predicted some years ago, in 1957, by Bruno Pontecorvo. It is a quantum mechanical phenomenon which consists of a neutrino created with a particular lepton flavor and which can be seen with a different flavor, as it interacts with other structures.
This metamorphosis phase implies that a neutrino has a non-zero mass, a notion purely theoretical up until now. The theory is not yet included in the original standard model of particle physics. Neutrinos are deeply fascinating as they have the ability to pass through matter as if it wasn’t even there.
After years of extended experiments, data gathering, trials and tribulations, experts have managed to observe neutrino oscillations by generating a neutrino beam composed of muon neutrinos. The next phase was measuring the beam’s neutrino composition with an underground near detector and after that they have sent the particles 500 miles straight to the Earth, with the help of a particle accelerator which sends trillions of neutrinos to Minesotta roughly each second.
The sophisticated experiment has made scientists discover traces of oscillating neutrons, which confirmed all the hypothesis some other enlightened minds have guessed to be true tens of years ago.
Neutrinos come in three phases, known as electron, muon and tau, based on how they are produced and interact with other particles.
The novelty about the findings is how well the detectors will manage to measure the relative numbers of muon and electron neutrinos, as well as their antimatter counterparts. By comparing antineutrino and neutrino oscillators to each other, researchers might be able to find out something about the asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the cosmos.
Image Source: interestingengineering.com