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Chemistry of the solar neutrino problem

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Abstract

ELECTRON neutrinos with energies of about 1–10 MeV are generally presumed to be produced by thermonuclear reactions in the Sun's core. Since 1967 an experiment has been under way on Earth to detect a subset of these neutrinos: argon atoms from the reaction ve + 37Cl → 37Ar+ + e (1) are chemically isolated, and the Auger electrons characterising their electron-capture decay are counted.1 A sizeable discrepancy—the solar neutrino problem2,3—has appeared. The most recent observational results4 imply an upper limit (1σ) of 1 SNU (= 10−36 solar neutrino captures per target 37Cl nucleus s−1), whereas the latest theoretical expectation based on standard models5 is 5.6 SNU.

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