The research of neutrinos could explain the existence of the cosmos.

Theoretically neutrinos explain existence itself - Comment on 2015 April 16 (2)

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When the youngest hypotheses in elementary particle physics go in the right direction, neutrinos could even provide a still far greater surprise and solve an old puzzle: They could be responsible that there is mass in the universe. Read more:

I bring extracts from an article:

 

Knowledge

Strange particles

How neutrinos can explain our existence

They come from the sun and other stars, trillions of them rush through our body every second: neutrinos are the at least researched particles. In Karlsruhe they want to change that.

Suns and exploding stars, so-called supernovas, sling out tiny neutrinos into the universe. Their research could explain the existence of the cosmos.

In Karlsruhe at the Institute for Technology stands a gigantic tank, which is to weigh what up to now could not yet be weighed. Drexlin is interested in neutrinos.

They come from the sun and other stars. But they are also emitted in the interior of nuclear reactions. They are the most frequent elementary particles, and they are practically everywhere. On earth in every second several ten billion of them traverse an area of the size of a thumbnail.

They pass every kind of matter almost unhindered; also rush through the human body. That has no consequences; man does not even note the cosmic bombardment. Neutrinos penetrate everything. It is correspondingly difficult to catch them, to measure them or to even find a trace of them.

But that would be helpful because its research can help explaining the existence of the cosmos. The particles could have been responsible shortly after the big bang that matter came into being at all. Theoretically neutrinos explain existence itself.

But the extreme transitoriness of the particles is a great problem. What neither let itself be felt, seen, nor measured, is difficult to investigate for scientists. In elaborate experiments conditions must therefore be created, in which that what is just a little bit more than nothing lets itself be detected.

Such an experiment is to be carried out soon in Karlsruhe, at the Institute for Technology. Here stands a large stainless steel tank, at which Guido Drexlin and his colleagues want to trace the up to now at least researched elemental particle.

The scientists call the experiment "Katrin", the name stands as acronym for the "Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino", a gigantic tank. In its interior is the most sensitive particle weighing-machine of the world. In the coming years the mass of neutrinos is to be determined here – and therewith their role in the development of the universe.

Because in theory only with the help of neutrinos can it be explained, why there is matter in the universe at all. Shortly after the big bang they caused that antimatter and matter did not completely destroy each other and more than just radiation was left over.

Detector trace of most energy rich neutrinos: The cosmic particle, baptized Ernie by physicists, had an energy of about 1.14 peta electron volt and was recorded on the 3rd of January 2012 by the IceCube detector in the Antarctic.

After more than 90 years of neutrino research the mass of the particles is to finally being determined. About 60 million Euros were the costs of the high-tech plant. The researchers here use the radioactive decay to win neutrinos.

Already in 1920s physicists had investigated the so-called beta decay of radioactive elements. In the nucleus a neutron changes hereby into a proton and an electron. If for instance a gold atom decays, then mercury is produced.

Thereby the original element always has a higher energy than the element, which is produced after the beta decay. But because energy in nature can never get lost, the electron flying out of the nucleus must carry the difference of these two energies. And because gold or mercury atoms always have an equally high energy, also the energy of the flown out electron would always have to be the same size. Theoretically in any case.

But the reality looks different: Measurements showed several times that the electrons released at the decay have different energy values. With beta decay they once take more, once less energy. But there is always an energy difference. This question seems to disappear in an unexplainable way. This phenomenon was a puzzle for the scientists, a clear break with a directly holy energy conservation principle.

On the 4th of December 1930 the physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who was famous for his humour and feared by his cutting criticism, suggested in a letter to the "dear radioactive Ladies and Gentlemen" a radical solution to the problem.

To explain the incomprehensible behaviour of the elements, he postulated "as despairing remedy," that an invisible elementary particle would have to participate in the beta decay. This was to take the missing energy with it and so correct again the energy conservation principle.

Many collegues did not like this expedient. But others accepted it as idea and started to look out for this ominous particle. 26 years after the postulate of the "ghostly particle" Wolfgang Pauli received a telegram from Los Alamos. Clyde Cowan and Frederick Reines gladly reported in it that they had found the predicted particles. For the first time they had proved neutrinos.

The particles had been produced with the Cowan Reines Neutrino experiment at the Savannah River Nuclear Reactor, and the researchers were able to detect them. A late confirmation of Wolfgang Pauli‘s theory and a proof, which earned Reines 1995 the physics Nobel prize.

Since then many researchers made the effort to fathom the nature of neutrinos. Nobody has weighted them as yet. The international researchers under the leadership of the KIT now want to do this finally with their long cylinder Katrin. Out of several reasons the "over heavy hydrogen" is best suited for this.

First tritium, with one proton and two neutrons in the nucleus is the simplest isotope, which experiences a beta decay. Thanks to its short half-life of 12.3 years the physicists reach about hundred billions of decays per second with the used amount of gaseous tritium.

The problem is: Physicists cannot simply put neutrinos on a scale – the particles are too transitorial. Therefore the researchers have to apply a trick in their experiments. They know that with every beta decay energy is spread unequally on electrons and neutrons. Sometimes the electron gets more energy, sometimes the neutron.

In very rare cases extreme energy rich electrons are produced with the beta decay. The neutrinos then get only very little energy. Exactly these energy rich electrons the researchers can detect with Katrin. Then they simply subtract the measured energy of the total energy – and know the value of the mass of the neutrinos.

To find the extreme energy rich electrons, the researchers put for them a repellent electrical field opposite of the particle ray. Most of the electrons bounce off it. But the fastest electrons can penetrate this shield and so reach the measuring device.

"Of the hundred billion electrodes, which are released by the tritium decay per second, only one arrives at the detector every hundred seconds."

The measuring apparatus is for example in a 200 tons heavy, 24 metres long vacuum tank. It has a diameter of ten meters.

In the research centre now three turbo pumps with a suction performance of one million litres per second provide the purest ultra-high vacuum on earth in the cylinder.

Two electron volt – the ghostly particles cannot weigh more than this. With Katrin a lower proof limit of 0.2 electron volt is to be reached. In comparison: One electron weighs 511,000 electron volt.

Particle physicists and astrophysicists are very anxious to hear how small the mass of neutrinos can be. Because neutrinos exists in such great number in the universe that with their total gravity they must have also influenced the formation of stars and galaxies.

Recently cosmologists have published a study, which fills the Katrin researchers with a light worry. Measuring data of the space observatory Planck had shown that neutrinos have no more mass than 0.23 electron volts. That goes hard against the proof limit of the Karlsruhe mega thermos can, which lies by 0.2 electron volt. "This result is of course a hard restriction for us", says Drexlin.

"But this value results only in connection with a certain cosmologic world model." With Katrin the researchers make a measurement, which gets by without any model assumption. "And it would not be the first time that neutrinos behave completely different than most of the theorists believe, and have provided surprises."

When the youngest hypotheses in elementary particle physics go in the right direction, neutrinos could even provide a still far greater surprise and solve an old puzzle: They could be responsible that there is mass in the universe.

 

See
2012 Apr 28 – Astrophysics: Where does the cosmic radiation come from?
2013 May 21 – Where do neutrinos come from?
2013 Oct 11 – Weakness of will – Shortcoming. Responsibility. Word.
2013 Oct 30 – Dark matter stays hidden as detector fails to see a single particle
2013 Nov 22 – News about neutrinos
2014 Mar 02 – What have neutrinos to do with prayer?

 

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