Further doubt has been cast on a claim of experimental evidence for sterile neutrinos – hypothetical particles that could be a component of dark matter. Analysis of data from the MINOS+ experiment reveals no evidence for oscillations involving sterile neutrinos. This contradicts a study published in 2018 by physicists working on the MiniBooNE experiment, which claimed significant evidence for the particles.
The Standard Model of particle physics describes three flavours of neutrinos: electron, muon and tau. As neutrinos travel through space, they oscillate from one flavour to another – something that can be measured by placing a neutrino detector some distance from a source of neutrinos such as a particle accelerator, nuclear reactor or even the Sun.
One such experiment is MiniBooNE at Fermilab, which measures how many muon neutrinos become electron neutrinos after travelling several hundred metres. In 2018, physicists working on MiniBooNE reported detecting far more electron neutrinos than predicted by the Standard Model. A similar excess was also seen more than 20 years ago in measurements of Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory
This excess could be related to the existence of sterile neutrinos, which are hypothetical particles predicted by some extensions ...