Study of neutrino scattering in atomic nuclei

RUSSIA- The RED-100 experiment is about to launch to study the coherent scattering of neutrinos (CENS) in the nuclei of heavy xenon (Xe) atoms.

In November, the equipment was delivered to the Kalinin nuclear power plant, where tests will be carried out. Earlier, at the online international conference on nuclear physics and astrophysics held at the MEPhI Russian State University of Nuclear Research in Moscow, experts reported on the results of research on coherent elasticity of neutrinos in argon (Ar) atoms.

The coherent elastic scattering of neutrinos in atomic nuclei was predicted by Soviet and American scientists in 1974 within the framework of the Standard Model of particle physics, a theory that discusses strong, weak, and electromagnetic nuclear interactions.

In 2017, scientists formed the international collaboration Coherent to record and study the coherent elasticity of neutrinos. In this research group there are scientists of Russia.

Alexander Kumpan of NRNU MEPhI’s Laboratory of Experimental Nuclear Physics said that the most important result obtained in 2020 was the first recognition of the CENS process in argon nuclei. Currently, 40Ar is the lightest element for which CENS has been recorded. “The process of coherent elastic scattering of neutrinos is very important from a scientific point of view, as it is a new and independent channel for clarifying modern physical concepts in search of new ones,” Kumpan said.

For example, studying CENS is essential to understanding supernova formation. CENS is one of the main processes that occurs when a supernova is born and plays an important role in the collapse of neutron stars, because about 99% of the energy released during the birth of a supernova is carried by neutrinos.

In addition, the elastic coherent scattering of solar neutrinos in target nuclei will be the main foundation for the next generation of detectors to search for dark matter as weakly interacting heavy particles.

Unlike many other processes involving elementary particles, CENS is a practical application for monitoring the state of nuclear reactors by analyzing neutrino radiation flux. Modern neutrino detectors are structures that weigh many tons and are about the size of a nuclear power plant.

The use of the CENS effect will allow the creation of compact mobile systems that can be placed near the reactor. Such systems will operate independently without regard to the technological process of reactor control, being able to monitor the state of the core in the reactor, including changes in the isotopic composition of the fuel during reactor operation.

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