Sterile neutrino oscillations in MINOS and hadron production in pC collisions Page: 16 of 237
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Neutrino physics represents a very lively topic which has developed in the last eighty years.
A first challenge in neutrino physics comes from the difficulty of detection, as they are
neutral particles and interact only weakly. The number of active flavours of neutrinos is
constrained to be three (v,, vl, v,) by the experimental measurement of the width of the
Z0 boson, as shown in figure 1.1.
In the Standard Model, neutrinos are supposed to be massless. This has been con-
tradicted by experimental evidence. Neutrino oscillations are possible as neutrinos are
produced as flavour eigenstates but their propagation happens as mass eigenstates. The
difference in mass causes a phase difference during the propagation: when the neutrino in-
teracts as a flavour eigenstate there is a non-zero probability for it to have changed flavour.
Neutrino oscillations are dependent on the ratio L/E, where L represents the propagation
length and E is the neutrino energy: for the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search
(MINOS) experiment L/E ~ 400 km/GeV.
This thesis studies neutrino oscillation parameters in the case of mixing to a fourth
neutrino flavour ("sterile" as it cannot couple to the Z0). In neutral current interactions,
the only detectable product of the interaction is given by the hadronic shower. There is no
possibility to distinguish among neutrino flavors and in the case of only the active flavour
neutrino oscillations, the neutral current spectrum is expected to be unvaried. The signal for
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Tinti, Gemma Maria & U., /Oxford. Sterile neutrino oscillations in MINOS and hadron production in pC collisions, thesis or dissertation, July 1, 2010; Batavia, Illinois. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1015233/m1/16/: accessed April 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.