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Too many anti-neutrinos: Evidence builds for new anomaly

22 Feb 2016, 09:13 UTC
Too many anti-neutrinos: Evidence builds for new anomaly
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Bump ahead.Tl;dr: A third experiment has reported an unexplained bump in the spectrum of reactor-produced anti-neutrinos. Speculations for the cause of the signal so far focus on incomplete nuclear fission models. Neutrinos are the least understood of the known elementary particles, and they just presented physicists with a new puzzle. While monitoring the neutrino flux from nearby nuclear power plants, three different experiments have measured an unexpected bump around 5 MeV. First reported by the Double Chooz experiment in 2014, the excess was originally not statistically significant5 MeV bump as seen by Double Chooz. Image source: arXiv:1406.7763Last year, a second experiment, RENO, reported an excess but did not assign a measure of significance. However, the bump is clearly visible in their data5 MeV bump as seen by RENO. Image source: arXiv:1511.05849The newest bump is from the Daya Bay collaboration and was just published in PRL5 MeV bump as seen by Daya Bay. Image source: arXiv:1508.04233They give the excess a local significance of 4.1 σ – a probability of less than one in ten thousand for the signal being due to pure chance.This is a remarkable significance for a particle that interacts so feebly, and an impressive illustration of how much ...

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