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Title: Observation of Muon Neutrino Charged Current Events in an Off-Axis Horn-Focused Neutrino Beam Using the NOvA Prototype Detector

The NOνA is a long base-line neutrino oscillation experiment. It will study the oscillations between muon and electron neutrinos through the Earth. NOνA consists of two detectors separated by 810 km. Each detector will measure the electron neutrino content of the neutrino (NuMI) beam. Differences between the measurements will reveal details about the oscillation channel. The NOνA collaboration built a prototype detector on the surface at Fermilab in order to develop calibration, simulation, and reconstruction tools, using real data. This 220 ton detector is 110 mrad off the NuMI beam axis. This off-axis location allows the observation of neutrino interactions with energies around 2 GeV, where neutrinos come predominantly from charged kaon decays. During the period between October 2011 and April 2012, the prototype detector collected neutrino data from 1.67 × 1020 protons on target delivered by the NuMI beam. This analysis selected a number of candidate charged current muon neutrino events from the prototype data, which is 30% lower than predicted by the NOνA Monte Carlo simulation. The analysis suggests that the discrepancy comes from an over estimation of the neutrino flux in the Monte Carlo simulation, and in particular, from neutrinos generated in charged kaon decays. The ratiomore » of measured divided by the simulated flux of muon neutrinos coming from charged kaon decays is: 0.70+0.108 -0.094. The NOνA collaboration may use the findings of this analysis to introduce a more accurate prediction of the neutrino flux produced by the NuMI beam in future Monte Carlo simulations.« less
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
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Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
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USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
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United States