Fresh Discoveries Regarding Neutrino Interactions Unveiled

Hokkaido University researchers have uncovered previously undetected interactions between neutrinos, elusive particles, and photons, the fundamental constituents of light and electromagnetic radiation. The study, led by Kenzo Ishikawa, Professor Emeritus at Hokkaido University, and his colleague Yutaka Tobita, a lecturer at Hokkaido University of Science, has been published in the journal Physics Open.

These findings hold significance in comprehending the quantum mechanical behavior of fundamental particles and could shed light on poorly understood phenomena in celestial bodies such as the sun and stars.

Neutrinos, one of the most enigmatic particles in the universe, are notoriously challenging to study due to their near absence of interaction with other particles. They possess no electrical charge and minimal mass but are astonishingly abundant, constantly streaming from the sun and permeating Earth and its inhabitants with little impact. Gaining a better understanding of neutrinos is vital for refining our comprehension of particle physics, as outlined in The Standard Model.

Under typical conditions, neutrinos do not interact with photons in a classical sense. However, the research has uncovered how neutrinos and photons can be induced to interact within the vast magnetic fields, spanning up to 103 kilometers, found in a state of matter known as plasma, which surrounds stars. Plasma is an ionized gas, composed of atoms with an excess or deficiency of electrons, resulting in charged ions, rather than the neutral atoms we encounter in everyday life.

The interaction identified by the researchers involves a theoretical phenomenon known as the electroweak Hall effect. This phenomenon arises under extreme conditions where two fundamental forces of nature—the electromagnetic and the weak forces—combine into what is called the electroweak force. Typically, this concept applies only in the high-energy conditions of the early universe or during particle accelerator collisions.

The research has provided a mathematical description of this unexpected interaction between neutrinos and photons, referred to as the Lagrangian, which encapsulates everything known about the system’s energy states.

Furthermore, this work has the potential to contribute to solving the long-standing mystery of solar corona heating. The solar corona, the sun’s outermost atmosphere, is notably hotter than its surface, a puzzle that has intrigued scientists for years. The research suggests that the interaction between neutrinos and photons releases energy, heating up the solar corona.

Kenzo Ishikawa concludes by stating their intentions to continue this research, seeking deeper insights, particularly concerning the energy transfer between neutrinos and photons under these extreme conditions.

The study is detailed in the article titled “Topological interaction of neutrino with photon in a magnetic field—Electroweak Hall effect,” published in Physics Open (2023). [DOI: 10.1016/j.physo.2023.100174]

Source: Hokkaido University via (2023, September 11) []

Source: Hokkaido University

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