Measuring Neutrino with the DUNE Experiment

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics


Neutrinos are neutral particles that are produced in the weak interaction processes. There are three types of neutrinos named muon-, electron- and tau-neutrinos after the leptons they are produced in association with. It has been found that these neutrinos can transform from one type (flavour) to another while they travel through time and space. The Nobel Prize in physics in 2015 was awarded for the discovery of this phenomenon. The transition from one flavour to another is are called neutrino oscillations and can be different for neutrinos and anti-neutrinos. It may help to explain the observed difference between matter and anti-matter in the universe.
The DUNE experiment in the US will send a beam of muon neutrinos from the Fermilab accelerator complex (FNAL) towards the Stanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). Two detector complexes will intercept the beam. One will be located 576 m downstream from the neutrino production target on the FNAL site, the other will be 1300 km downstream at SURF. The near detector will determine the beam characteristic before any oscillations have taken place, while the far detector will measure how the neutrino beam has changed and thus allow to determine the parameters that govern neutrino oscillations including the CP-violating phase, that is responsible for the matter anti-matter differences.
The near detector will not only measure the beam composition before oscillations, but is also essential to understand the details on how neutrinos interact with matter (our detectors). DUNE has adopted the PRISM concept, which allows for some of the near detector complex to be moved off the neutrino beam axis and thus sample the beam with quite different neutrino fluxes. This is an unique asset to the experiment as it will allow to disentangle cross section and flux degeneracies. This is a new concept that has not been used in any previous neutrino experiment and might be the only way to reduce the systematic uncertainties to the level required to achieve DUNE's physics objective.
The thesis will involve developing this concept and investigate how DUNE-PRISM will work in detail for the electron neutrino appearance analysis, which show far has not been studied. The work will involve studying different methods to extrapolate the measurements from the near to the far detector or how to constrain different models using the DUNE-PRISM data. The work will be done as part of the DUNE collaboration, which consists of more than 1100 physicists, engineers, technicians and students from more than 30 countries. There will be especially close collaboration with the US groups at Fermilab, Stony Brook and Michigan State University.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/T506333/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023
2275178 Studentship ST/T506333/1 30/09/2019 30/03/2023 Ciaran Hasnip