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Title: Measurement of charged kaon production by neutrinos at MINERvA

Charged kaon production by atmospheric neutrinos is a background in searches for the proton decay $$p \rightarrow K^{+} \bar{\nu}$$. This channel is well motivated theoretically, and is favored by Supersymmetric Grand Unified Theories. Measurements of neutrino-induced $$K^{+}$$ production are important inputs for current and future proton decay searches at Super-K, Hyper-K and DUNE. The MINERvA neutrino-nucleus cross section experiment at Fermilab uses timing information to reconstruct $$K^{+}$$ decay-at-rest events. Differential cross section measurements are presented for both charged- and neutral-current neutrino interactions on plastic scintillator (CH). The cross section in $$K^{+}$$ kinetic energy, $$d\sigma/dT_K$$, is observed to be relatively flat between 0 and 500 MeV for both charged- and neutral-current scattering. Its shape is in good agreement with the prediction by the GENIE neutrino event generator when final-state interactions are included. A measurement of the hadronic visible energy in neutral-current $$K^{+}$$ events is also presented, as proton decay backgrounds come from events with very low visible energy. The spectrum is observed to be slightly softer in data than in \genie. A search for charged-current coherent $$K^{+}$$ production, $$\nu_{\mu}A\rightarrow\mu^{-}K^{+}A$$, is also presented. This rare process brings a $$K^{+}$$ on shell and leaves the target nucleus in its ground state. We find the first experimental evidence for the process at $$3\sigma$$ significance.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. U. Rochester
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1325973
Report Number(s):
FERMILAB-THESIS-2016-12
1486622
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-07CH11359
Resource Type:
Thesis/Dissertation
Research Org:
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS