Italy and US join forces on sterile neutrinos

31 August 2018

On 28 June, the US Department of Energy and the Italian Embassy, on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, signed a collaboration agreement concerning the international Short Baseline Neutrino (SBN) programme hosted at Fermilab. The SBN programme, started in 2015, comprises the development, installation and operation of three neutrino detectors on the Fermilab site: the Short Baseline Near Detector, located 110 m from the neutrino beam source; MicroBooNE, located 470 m from the source; and ICARUS, located 600 m from the source. ICARUS was refurbished at CERN last year after a long and productive scientific life at Gran Sasso National Laboratory.

The SBN programme aims to search for exotic and highly non-reactive sterile neutrinos and resolve anomalies observed in previous experiments (CERN Courier June 2017 p25). Due to their different distances from the source, but employing the same liquid-argon technology, the three SBN detectors will be able to distinguish whether their measurements are due to transformations between neutrino types involving a sterile neutrino or are due to other previously-unknown neutrino interactions.

The signing of the SBN programme agreement is an addendum to a broader collaboration agreement on neutrino research that the US and Italy signed in 2015.

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