Neutrino ‘flavour’ flip confirmed

An important new discovery has been made in Japan about neutrinos

neutrinosThese are the ghostly particles that flood the cosmos but which are extremely hard to detect and study.

Experiments have now established that one particular type, known as the muon “flavour”, can flip to the electron type during flight.

The observation is noteworthy because it allows for the possibility that neutrinos and their anti-particle versions might behave differently.

If that is the case, it could be an explanation for why there is so much more matter than antimatter in the Universe.

Theorists say the counterparts would have been created in equal amounts at the Big Bang, and should have annihilated each other unless there was some significant element of asymmetry in play.

“The fact that we have matter in the Universe means there have to be laws of physics that aren’t in our Standard Model, and neutrinos are one place they might be,” Prof Dave Wark, of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Oxford University, told BBC News.

The confirmation that muon flavour neutrinos can flip, or oscillate, to the electron variety comes from T2K, an international collaboration involving some 500 scientists.

The team works on a huge experimental set-up that is split across two sites separated by almost 300km.

At one end is the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Centre (J-Parc) located on the country’s east coast.……
… Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23366318

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