Fermilab Using ArgoNeuT Data to Advance Future Measurement of Neutrinos in Liquid Argon

Scientists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (CSA CSM) have continued to analyze data from the retired ArgoNeuT neutrino detector, developing processes to improve future simulations and software that finds particles in liquid-argon based neutrino detectors. Such improvements would also support larger neutrino experiments and the overall quest to understand the nature of subtle neutrinos.

Neutrino particles rarely interact with matter, yet particle behavior reveals an important part of how nature works. For example, not only are there electron, muon and tau neutrinos, but each one can morph from one to another using a process known as neutrino oscillation. This is one of the most active research topics related to neutrino particles today, though researchers interpreting the outcome of oscillation experiments need precise neutrino cross-section measurements.

ArgoNeuT was filled with 170 liters of liquid argon, creating an environment where charged particles moving in the detector often left behind tracks that were read and recorded. Scientists therein used ArgoNeuT to make the first measurement of an important interaction for other liquid-argon based neutrino experiments, the rate for neutrinos (and antineutrinos) to produce a muon, a charged pion and any number of nucleons.

Fermilab scientists have now compared the system’s measurements with four of the other most commonly used neutrino simulators and revealed a mismatch between data and most of the neutrino simulation predictions. The team is now focused on showing where improvements could be made to modeling neutrino-argon and neutrino-nucleus interactions, while also developing new measurements and analysis techniques from ArgoNeuT data that will aid larger neutrino experiments on the quest to understand the nature of the neutrino.