In an attempt to fill in the empty spaces of the Standard Model of particle physics, science has been showing a meticulous search for a hypothesized element known as the “sterile neutrino.” Now, with the novel results from an icy atom detector at the South Pole, researchers are almost sure that there is no such type of particle.
If identified, the sterile neutrino would have supplemented to the neutrino family description and assistance explained a wide range of puzzles that suggest the presence of more than the three genuine flavours of neutrino. Eventually, such type of particle could also support in solving the suspense of the evolution of dark matter and the asymmetry in the world.
Neutrinos are harmful particles with almost no volume and only interact with matter. There are possibly three known forms of neutrinos – tau, electron, and muon. The possible existence of the fourth type of neutrino has come from numerous studies. The possible fourth type is known as ‘sterile neutrino,' the hypothesized particle would not integrate at all with matter except through gravity.
Identifying the sterile neutrino would also accentuate a wrench into the Standard Model that enables for just three known sorts of neutrinos. “If you through or expect a fourth neutrino, it alters everything,” explains Francis Halzen, a professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin Madison and chief investigator for the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a gigantic detector incorporated with matter itself, although it can drastically interfere with the way traditional neutrinos perform.”
The only method to identify a sterile neutrino is to grab it in the form of altering into one or the other forms. The presence of the sterile neutrino has been supported by numerous researches, including at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1990s and more genuinely at the Daya Bay nuclear reactor service close to Hong Kong. But desirable evidence of the existence of particles has so far eluded researchers.
Now in an experiment, the scientists may have immensely put to search this fourth form of neutrino. In two independent experiments of data from the huge Antarctic detector – each comprising of a year’s worth of information or about 100,000 neutrino events – the alarming feature linked to the sterile neutrino was nowhere to be identified, says Halzen.
The study was executed utilizing the atmospheric neutrinos, which were crafted when cosmic beams disperse into particles in the top atmosphere of the Earth. The team concludes that there is around 99% prediction that the EV-mass sterile neutrino hinted at by past researchers does not exist.
The strength of the fourth form of neutrino is that it would help strengthen the gap in theory that expects that some neutrinos from a ray of one sort of neutrino emanating from available source – be it the sun, atmosphere or nuclear reactor – would alter from one type of neutrino to the other as they move to a distant detector.
“Such novel result accentuates the versatility of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, says Olga Botner, a lecturer of physics and astronomical expert at Uppsala University in Sweden.