Exploring the two-neutrino exchange potential

Numerous unanswered questions still exist in particle physics and cosmology. Some of these uncertainties involve the mass and nature of typically high-energy neutrinos, produced within nuclear reactors and stars, including the sun. Neutrino oscillations prove that neutrinos have mass and mixing among the three neutrino flavors: electron, muon, and tau. If observable, a potential formed during neutrino interactions could help answer questions related to the nature of neutrinos.

The collaboration propose an experiment to determine both the absolute mass and nature of these atomic particles.

Instead of observing naturally produced relativistic neutrinos, the team proposed the observation of a neutrino interaction in which aggregate matter exchanges two virtual non-relativistic neutrinos. The exchange creates an ultraweak potential and gradient.

“While the concept of an ultraweak potential isn’t entirely unique,” said one of the author Dylan Sabulsky, “the way it is treated analytically and numerically in this work is new.”

Their research centered on calculating the virtual exchange potential generated by micron-sized test masses. They propose testing the structures with atomic clock interferometry.

Although the expected results for the detection of the weak potential between neutrinos remain out of reach, the researchers hope this study is an invigorating force to apply non-standard quantum states to interferometers to yield drastically improved sensitivities. This new concept, based on quantum physics, will lead to more realistic studies in the future.

“Our paper is like an open call to the community. First of all we’d like to present our idea and we’d like to get feedback from the many different communities it addresses – it’s important to draw on their expertise. To build it, we’d have to gather a whole new team of experts. But the good news is: it would not be very expensive,” says Federico Sánchez, the director of the Nuclear and Corpuscular Physics Department.



April 5, 2024