Proposal for the continuation of a programme of Neutrino Factory research and development

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Physics

Abstract

The species of particles currently known to physics, the neutrinos, which come in three types: electron, muon, and tau, are probably among the most intriguing but least understood. The neutrinos have tiny masses and interact with matter only very weakly. The results of all particle physics experiments to date have been readily explained by the 'Standard Model' of particle physics, developed in the 1960s: that is, except, for a small set of results from a select few experiments investigating the behaviour of neutrinos. Neutrinos are naturally produced continuously in stars and the earth's atmosphere. Experiments to detect these neutrinos have consistently found fewer neutrinos than are produced. So where did they go? There is evidence that these 'missing' neutrinos have changed or 'oscillated' into different types of neutrino, that are not detected. More recently, experiments involving man-made neutrinos have demonstrated similar neutrino oscillation behaviour. For each particle type in nature, there is a corresponding anti-particle type - the anti-particles together are known as anti-matter. So, for each of the three types of neutrinos, there is a corresponding type of anti-neutrino. Of particular interest is the question of whether the oscillations of anti-neutrinos are the same as those of neutrinos, or do the anti-neutrinos behave differently? This question is believed to be related to the fact that the observable universe today is composed almost entirely of matter, whereas the Big Bang which created the Universe 14 billion years ago, should have created equal amounts of matter and anti-matter. The mystery of where the anti-matter has gone could be explained by a difference in the oscillation behaviour of neutrinos and anti-neutrinos. This question can only be answered by making ultra-sensitive measurements of neutrino oscillations using high-intensity man-made beams of neutrinos. The ultimate goal of the proposed research is to produce the most intense beams of neutrinos ever created by man in a 'Neutrino Factory'. These beams of neutrinos will be directed at various angles through the Earth, to different detectors in several parts of the world, allowing the neutrino oscillations to be measured over different distances. This will allow the properties of the neutrinos to be determined far more precisely than ever before, and will allow us to answer the fundamental question of whether the oscillations of neutrinos and anti-neutrinos are the same or not. This should solve the puzzle of where the anti-matter created at the Big Bang has gone, and therefore help to explain the existence of the universe as we know it today.

Publications

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Group T (2009) Accelerator design concept for future neutrino facilities in Journal of Instrumentation

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Bandyopadhyay A (2009) Physics at a future Neutrino Factory and super-beam facility in Reports on Progress in Physics

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Long K (2009) The International Design Study for the Neutrino Factory in Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements

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Pasternak J (2012) Accelerator systems for the International Design Study of the Neutrino Factory in Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements

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Apollonio M (2012) The International Design Study for the Neutrino Factory in Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements

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Long K (2012) Steps towards the Neutrino Factory in Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements

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Rogers C (2013) Muon front end for the neutrino factory in Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams

 
Description Muons are fundamental particles. Their mass is 200 times that of the electron. They are unstable and decay to produce electron and muon neutrinos. These properties make muons the ideal as a source of neutrinos for beams designed to serve experiments that will be able to study the properties of the neutrino with exquisite precision. In addition, muon may be accelerated to very high energy, allowing leptwn-antilepton collisions at energies much larger than can be achieved using electrons to be conceived.

We have developed and characterised an experiment designed to demonstrate that the size of a beam of muons can be controlled using a process known as ionization cooling. This is an essential prerequisite for the proof-of-principle of the ionization-cooling technique. This proof-of-principle is the subject of our present data taking and analysis activities.
Exploitation Route Work on the accelerator complex is applicable to other areas of particle beams for science and innovation.
Sectors Healthcare

 
Description Muons are fundamental particles. Their mass is 200 times that of the electron. They are unstable and decay to produce electron and muon neutrinos. These properties make muons the ideal as a source of neutrinos for beams designed to serve experiments that will be able to study the properties of the neutrino with exquisite precision. In addition, muon may be accelerated to very high energy, allowing leptwn-antilepton collisions at energies much larger than can be achieved using electrons to be conceived. We have developed and characterised an experiment designed to demonstrate that the size of a beam of muons can be controlled using a process known as ionization cooling. This is an essential prerequisite for the proof-of-principle of the ionization-cooling technique. This proof-of-principle is the subject of our present data taking and analysis activities.
First Year Of Impact 2005
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description Development of proton and muon accelerators for science and innovation 
Organisation STFC Laboratories
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Development of accelerators for pulsed high-power proton sources, study of beam loss in synchrotron, design of FFAG muon ring for neutrino cross section measurements. Development of beam delivered to MICE at RAL. Organisation of Proton Accelerators for Science and Innovation workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of infrastructure and expertise in the above. Collaboration in organisation of the Proton Accelerator for Science and Innovation workshops.
Impact Joint proposals for research work. Joint publications, listed elsewhere.
Start Year 2006
 
Description Development of proton and muon accelerators for science and innovation 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)
Department ISIS Neutron and Muon Source
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development of accelerators for pulsed high-power proton sources, study of beam loss in synchrotron, design of FFAG muon ring for neutrino cross section measurements. Development of beam delivered to MICE at RAL. Organisation of Proton Accelerators for Science and Innovation workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of infrastructure and expertise in the above. Collaboration in organisation of the Proton Accelerator for Science and Innovation workshops.
Impact Joint proposals for research work. Joint publications, listed elsewhere.
Start Year 2006
 
Description MICE beam line, dipping target and beam line, tracker and MICE Step I data analysis 
Organisation International MICE Collaboration
Country Global 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Construction of, and control systems for the MICE target, construction of the MICE Muon Beam. Construction, commissioning with cosmics, of the MICE tracker. Analysis of data from the MICE experiment and preparation for publication.
Collaborator Contribution Contributions to the MICE dipping target, the decay solenoid and conventional magnet systems. Readout for the tracker and contributions to the commissioning. Development of algorithms for the analysis of MICE data and publication.
Impact Publications in refereed journals (2); many talks at international conferences.
 
Description Public Lecture at Neutrino 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Brian Cox presented the public lecture to a packed audience (750, the maximum the Hall could accommodate) at the Neutrino 2016 conference in South Kensington in Jun2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016