Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Peering into the Sun from the depths of the Gran Sasso: Borexino sheds light on solar neutrinos

05.11.2018

Borexino Collaboration publishes results of research into the Sun's 'ghost particles' in Nature

For more than ten years, the Borexino Detector located 1,400 meters below surface of the Italian Gran Sasso massif has been exploring the interior of our Sun. During this time, the project has provided amazing insights into how the star at the center of our solar system generates its energy.


Interior view of the Borexino detector

photo/©: Borexino collaboration

The scientists involved, including physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), have now published a general analysis of the data they have collated on solar neutrinos. Neutrinos can penetrate all matter almost without leaving a trace and are thus difficult to detect. As a result, they have become known as 'ghost particles'.

They originate from a variety of sources, ranging from radioactive decay to astronomical objects and, in the case of solar neutrinos, from the Sun. The current paper in Nature not only describes the results of measurement of the solar neutrino spectrum but also uses this to deduce details about processes at the Sun's core, giving us an insight into the mechanism that has kept our Sun shining for billions of years.

The Borexino experiment is running at the Gran Sasso subterranean laboratory, which is maintained by the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). Deep below the Earth's surface, the experimental facilities are well-shielded from cosmic rays.

Thus, the experiment is able to detect the weak signal produced by solar neutrinos. Borexino was originally conceived 30 years ago and began recording data in 2007. This extensive collaborative project involves institutes from Italy, Germany, France, Poland, the USA, and Russia.

Our understanding of the Sun's interior once again confirmed

The project's scientific success is primarily due to the outstanding radiopurity of the experiment. At the innermost core of the facility only infinitesimal amounts of natural radioactivity are present, i.e., only one trillion times fewer atoms per gram of the elements uranium and thorium than in the surrounding rock.

This extraordinary purity is crucial for precisely measuring the energy spectrum of solar neutrinos. It makes it possible to determine the rates of the fusion processes taking place inside the Sun, which are highly dependent on the temperature and elemental composition of the Sun's core.

Alongside this glimpse into the conditions deep within our star, the results also provide detailed insights into the oscillation process the neutrinos undergo inside the Sun. Oscillations describe the transformation of the three different types of neutrinos into each other, a process that was only conclusively confirmed for solar neutrinos in 2001. "Borexino’s findings far exceed the most optimistic predictions we made when we first started," said Gianpaolo Bellini, one of the pioneers of the INFN experiment.

Professor Michael Wurm, a physicist at JGU and a Borexino partner, affirmed this: "The new results generated by Borexino impressively confirm our current understanding of fusion processes inside the Sun.

Our measurements of the complete neutrino spectrum clearly demonstrate the effect solar matter has on the oscillations of the neutrinos produced at the Sun's center." While, at the lower end of the spectrum, neutrinos leave the Sun unaltered, at the upper end of the spectrum, the effect of the oscillations is intensified.

The Mainz Borexino team is mainly concerned with studying the background conditions caused by cosmic muons in the detector. "These muons are the only cosmic ray particles that make it through the 1.5-kilometer-thick mountain shield above the underground laboratory," said Wurm. Reducing this background signal is crucial to detecting the solar neutrinos. The work of the group from Mainz is supported by JGU’s Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter (PRISMA) Cluster of Excellence.

Other German partners involved in the Borexino Collaboration and the latest paper in Nature are the Technical University of Munich, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Universität Hamburg, RWTH Aachen University, and the Technische Universität Dresden.

Image:
http://www.uni-mainz.de/bilder_presse/08_physik_etap_borexino.jpg
Interior view of the Borexino detector
photo/©: Borexino collaboration

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Professor Dr. Michael Wurm
Experimental Particle and Astroparticle Physics (ETAP)
Institute of Physics
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-23928
fax +49 6131 39-20210
e-mail: michael.wurm@uni-mainz.de
https://www.etap.physik.uni-mainz.de/research-groups/ex-borexino/

Originalpublikation:

The Borexino Collaboration, Comprehensive measurement of pp-chain solar neutrinos, Nature 562, 505-510, 24 October 2018,
DOI:10.1038/s41586-018-0624-y
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0624-y

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.blogs.uni-mainz.de/fb08-iph-eng/ – JGU Institute of Physics ;
https://www.prisma.uni-mainz.de/ – PRISMA Cluster of Excellence ;
http://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/20002_ENG_HTML.php – press release "German Research Foundation approves new research group to determine neutrino mass hierarchy" (4 Jan. 2016) ;
http://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/18016_ENG_HTML.php – press release "Particle physicists from Mainz University participate in JUNO neutrino experiment" (28 Jan. 2015)

Petra Giegerich | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Borexino JGU Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Sun detector

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht How to certify a quantum computer
05.11.2018 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

nachricht Russian physicists upgrade cheap diode laser for use in precise measurements
05.11.2018 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanorobots propel through the eye

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...

Im Focus: Dissecting a molecular toolbox driving motility and infection

HZI scientists establish how the cytoskeleton is regulated and manipulated

Various bacterial pathogens stimulate their hosts to engulf them during infection processes, allowing the bacteria to gain access to the host cell cytoplasm....

Im Focus: Electronic Highways on the Nanoscale

For the first time, the targeted functionalization of carbon-based nanostructures allows the direct mapping of current paths, thereby paving the way for novel quantum devices

Computers are getting faster and increasingly powerful. However, at the same time computing requires noticeably more energy, which is almost completely...

Im Focus: Biomarker discovered for most common form of heart failure

Cedars-Sinai discovery may aid doctors in diagnosing at-risk patients before symptoms appear

A team led by a Cedars-Sinai physician-scientist has discovered a biomarker--a protein found in the blood--for the most common type of heart failure, a new...

Im Focus: Shedding light on Weyl fermions

Researchers from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics (MPSD) in Hamburg and North Carolina State University in the US have demonstrated that the long-sought magnetic Weyl semi-metallic state can be induced by ultrafast laser pulses in a three-dimensional class of magnetic materials dubbed pyrochlore iridates. Their results, which have now been published in Nature Communications, could enable high-speed magneto-optical topological switching devices for next-generation electronics.

All known elementary particles can be sorted into two categories: bosons and fermions. Bosons carry forces, like the magnetic force or gravity, while fermions...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ring-shaped protein complex wrangles DNA

05.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fluorescent marker can help guide surgeons to remove dangerous brain tumor cells more accurately

05.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Spaced-out nanotwins make for stronger metals

05.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>