Tuesday, June 01, 2010

OPERA Made First Detection of the Tau Neutrino

The collaboration between Italy's INFN and CERN has announced the first ever detection of the tau neutrino, and the muon-tau neutrino oscillation.

The project's source of neutrinos is a proton accelerator at CERN in Geneva that slams protons into a graphite target, producing particles called pions and kaons that quickly decay into muon neutrinos.

Because the neutrino beam that is created is not affected by electrical or magnetic fields, the proton accelerator must be pointed directly at detectors in the laboratory under Gran Sasso mountain 453 miles away in central Italy, between the towns of L'Aquila and Teramo. When neutrinos are produced, they continue in the same direction of the proton beam, arriving at Gran Sasso in 2.4 milliseconds.

A splendid discovery that confirms one of the aspect of the Standard Model, but ironically, also confirms that the Standard Model needs to be tweaked. This is on top of the electron neutrino-muon neutrino oscillation that was confirmed several years ago.


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