New resultsJuan Collar et al. have created a new type of neutrino detector

Writing some new science history, Juan Collar and his colleagues have detected the signature of elastic scattering events between neutrinos, and nuclei of atoms, for the first time. And they used a detector that would fit on your desk!


Neutrino detectors are for the most part huge tanks filled with ultrapure water, buried deep under ground. Or perhaps a great network of holes, drilled in the ice at the south pole. These detectors are looking for a very rare, but energetic, neutrino interaction that create a flash of light in the material.

After a summer break from the blog, I will introduce this semester with exciting news about a novel tool—developed by Juan Collar and his colleagues. It's a new type of neutrino detector, not bigger than what you comfortably can rest on your desk while going out for lunch.

This detector is looking for a different kind of neutrino interaction that the traditional behemoths. The much gentler elastic scattering event that can transpire between a neutrino and the nucleus of an atom. If you're unfamiliar with elastic scattering, I recommend reading the article in Scientific American. Or if you're very comfortable with the concept, perhaps the scientific paper will be more to your liking.

Article in Scientific American
Read the paper

Will there be Nobel prizes handed out for this work in the long term? I guess that will depend on whether or not this new detector can convince our shy neutrino companions to divulge some of their long held secrets. Do they prefer the company of Paul Dirac or Ettore Majorana?