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Title: Detecting non-relativistic cosmic neutrinos by capture on tritium: phenomenology and physics potential

Abstract

We study the physics potential of the detection of the Cosmic Neutrino Background via neutrino capture on tritium, taking the proposed PTOLEMY experiment as a case study. With the projected energy resolution of Δ ∼ 0.15 eV, the experiment will be sensitive to neutrino masses with degenerate spectrum, m{sub 1} ≅ m{sub 2} ≅ m{sub 3} = m{sub ν} ∼> 0.1 eV. These neutrinos are non-relativistic today; detecting them would be a unique opportunity to probe this unexplored kinematical regime. The signature of neutrino capture is a peak in the electron spectrum that is displaced by 2 m{sub ν} above the beta decay endpoint. The signal would exceed the background from beta decay if the energy resolution is Δ ∼< 0.7 m{sub ν} . Interestingly, the total capture rate depends on the origin of the neutrino mass, being Γ{sup D} ≅ 4 and Γ{sup M} ≅ 8 events per year (for a 100 g tritium target) for unclustered Dirac and Majorana neutrinos, respectively. An enhancement of the rate of up to O(1) is expected due to gravitational clustering, with the unique potential to probe the local overdensity of neutrinos. Turning to more exotic neutrino physics, PTOLEMY could be sensitive to a lepton asymmetry, and reveal the eV-scale sterile neutrino that is favored by short baseline oscillation searches. Themore » experiment would also be sensitive to a neutrino lifetime on the order of the age of the universe and break the degeneracy between neutrino mass and lifetime which affects existing bounds.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Physics Department, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22373391
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics; Journal Volume: 2014; Journal Issue: 08; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASYMMETRY; BETA DECAY; CAPTURE; COSMIC NEUTRINOS; ELECTRON SPECTRA; ENERGY RESOLUTION; EV RANGE; LIFETIME; MASS; NEUTRINO DETECTION; ORIGIN; OSCILLATIONS; PEAKS; POTENTIALS; RELATIVISTIC RANGE; SIGNALS; TRITIUM; TRITIUM TARGET; UNIVERSE

Citation Formats

Long, Andrew J., Lunardini, Cecilia, and Sabancilar, Eray, E-mail: andrewjlong@asu.edu, E-mail: Cecilia.Lunardini@asu.edu, E-mail: Eray.Sabancilar@asu.edu. Detecting non-relativistic cosmic neutrinos by capture on tritium: phenomenology and physics potential. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2014/08/038.
Long, Andrew J., Lunardini, Cecilia, & Sabancilar, Eray, E-mail: andrewjlong@asu.edu, E-mail: Cecilia.Lunardini@asu.edu, E-mail: Eray.Sabancilar@asu.edu. Detecting non-relativistic cosmic neutrinos by capture on tritium: phenomenology and physics potential. United States. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2014/08/038.
Long, Andrew J., Lunardini, Cecilia, and Sabancilar, Eray, E-mail: andrewjlong@asu.edu, E-mail: Cecilia.Lunardini@asu.edu, E-mail: Eray.Sabancilar@asu.edu. Fri . "Detecting non-relativistic cosmic neutrinos by capture on tritium: phenomenology and physics potential". United States. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2014/08/038.
@article{osti_22373391,
title = {Detecting non-relativistic cosmic neutrinos by capture on tritium: phenomenology and physics potential},
author = {Long, Andrew J. and Lunardini, Cecilia and Sabancilar, Eray, E-mail: andrewjlong@asu.edu, E-mail: Cecilia.Lunardini@asu.edu, E-mail: Eray.Sabancilar@asu.edu},
abstractNote = {We study the physics potential of the detection of the Cosmic Neutrino Background via neutrino capture on tritium, taking the proposed PTOLEMY experiment as a case study. With the projected energy resolution of Δ ∼ 0.15 eV, the experiment will be sensitive to neutrino masses with degenerate spectrum, m{sub 1} ≅ m{sub 2} ≅ m{sub 3} = m{sub ν} ∼> 0.1 eV. These neutrinos are non-relativistic today; detecting them would be a unique opportunity to probe this unexplored kinematical regime. The signature of neutrino capture is a peak in the electron spectrum that is displaced by 2 m{sub ν} above the beta decay endpoint. The signal would exceed the background from beta decay if the energy resolution is Δ ∼< 0.7 m{sub ν} . Interestingly, the total capture rate depends on the origin of the neutrino mass, being Γ{sup D} ≅ 4 and Γ{sup M} ≅ 8 events per year (for a 100 g tritium target) for unclustered Dirac and Majorana neutrinos, respectively. An enhancement of the rate of up to O(1) is expected due to gravitational clustering, with the unique potential to probe the local overdensity of neutrinos. Turning to more exotic neutrino physics, PTOLEMY could be sensitive to a lepton asymmetry, and reveal the eV-scale sterile neutrino that is favored by short baseline oscillation searches. The experiment would also be sensitive to a neutrino lifetime on the order of the age of the universe and break the degeneracy between neutrino mass and lifetime which affects existing bounds.},
doi = {10.1088/1475-7516/2014/08/038},
journal = {Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics},
number = 08,
volume = 2014,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}
  • The problem of detecting neutrinos in cosmic rays is discussed. It is pointed out that such observations open a new field of experimental physics, i.e., that dealing with high energy neutrinos. Results obtained in such endeavors could prove quite fundamental for theories concerned with elementary particles. There is at present an insufficient amount of data for the complete understanding of weak interactions. Experiments are proposed for the solution of the following problems: the values of the critical impulses for the neutrino- baryon and neutrino-lepton interactions; existence of an intermediate boson; the identity of the electron neutrino and the muon neutrino;more » and existence of a direct interaction of the type (ve)(ve). (TTT)« less
  • The Pierre Auger (cosmic ray) Observatory provides a laboratory for studying fundamental physics at energies far beyond those available at colliders. The Observatory is sensitive not only to hadrons and photons but can in principle detect ultrahigh energy neutrinos in the cosmic radiation. Interestingly, it may be possible to uncover new physics by analyzing characteristics of the neutrino flux at the Earth. By comparing the rate for quasihorizontal, deeply penetrating air showers triggered by all types of neutrinos with the rate for slightly up-going showers generated by Earth-skimming tau neutrinos, we determine the ratio of events which would need tomore » be detected in order to signal the existence of new nonperturbative interactions beyond the TeV scale in which the final state energy is dominated by the hadronic component. We use detailed Monte Carlo simulations to calculate the effects of interactions in the Earth and in the atmosphere. We find that observation of 1 Earth skimming and 10 quasihorizontal events would exclude the standard model at the 99% confidence level. If new nonperturbative physics exists, a decade or so would be required to find it in the most optimistic case of a neutrino flux at the Waxman-Bahcall level and a neutrino-nucleon cross section an order of magnitude above the standard model prediction.« less
  • Supernova remnants (SNRs) are thought to be the dominant source of Galactic cosmic rays. This requires that at least 5% of the available energy is transferred to cosmic rays, implying a high cosmic-ray pressure downstream of SNR shocks. Recently, it has been shown that the downstream temperature in some remnants is low compared to the measured shock velocities, implying that additional pressure supported by accelerated particles is present. Here we use a two-fluid thermodynamic approach to derive the relation between post-shock fractional cosmic-ray pressure and post-shock temperature, assuming no additional heating beyond adiabatic heating in the shock precursor and withmore » all non-adiabatic heating occurring at the subshock. The derived relations show that a high fractional cosmic-ray pressure is only possible if a substantial fraction of the incoming energy flux escapes from the system. Recently, a shock velocity and a downstream proton temperature were measured for a shock in the SNR RCW 86. We apply the two-fluid solutions to these measurements and find that the downstream fractional cosmic-ray pressure is at least 50% with a cosmic-ray energy flux escape of at least 20%. In general, in order to have 5% of the supernova energy to go into accelerating cosmic rays, on average the post-shock cosmic-ray pressure needs to be 30% for an effective cosmic-ray adiabatic index of {gamma}{sub cr} = 4/3.« less
  • The relativistically extended strong-potential Born (SPB) formalism is applied to the radiative electron capture process caused by the bombardment of a heavy and highly stripped charged particle with relativistically high velocity. The results are compared with those by use of nonrelativistic SPB calculations and with those by use of the relativistic Born calculation (Sauter's formula), which includes no distortion effects between a heavy projectile ion and an active electron. Even if the strong distortion effects are taken into consideration, the shapes of photon angular distributions in the laboratory frame still nearly depend on sin/sup 2/theta/sub L/(theta/sub L/ is the anglemore » of the emitted photon) in the vicinity of the angle of 90/sup 0/, which is the same as the results by use of Sauter's formula. The higher the charge of a projectile ion becomes, however, the greater the discrepancy between the angular shape of our results and that of Sauter's becomes at both smaller and larger angles than at 90/sup 0/. As is expected, the magnitudes of the differential and the total cross sections are drastically influenced by the distortion effects ascribable to a large charge of a heavy projectile ion such as U/sup 92+/. Our results are in good agreement with recent experiments. In addition, the Coulomb off-shell factor introduced by the SPB theory is found playing important roles in the case of the relativistic radiative electron capture process because the results calculated by using the relativistic impulse approximation are too underestimated.« less