Searches for Sterile Neutrinos with the IceCube Detector
© Stanislaw Pytel/DigitalVision/Getty
Hypothetical particles that have so far eluded detection may not exist after all, according to a report published in Physical Review Letters.
An international team of physicists, which included researchers from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, examined data from the square-kilometre IceCube detector buried deep beneath the ice at the South Pole, but were unable to detect ‘sterile’ neutrinos. If they existed, these particles would help explain some gaps of the Standard Model of particle physics.
Neutrinos currently come in three types – electron, muon, and tau, but the failure to detect a fourth means that physicists are unable to resolve some perplexing riddles in particle physics, such as the origins of dark matter and the disparity between the amounts of matter and antimatter in the universe. After analyzing two years of data and over 100,000 neutrino events, the team found no evidence of the existence of the sterile neutrino and have concluded that it likely does not exist.
- Physical Review Letters 117,071801 (2016). doi: 10.1103/physrevlett.117.071801