Viewpoint: Getting to the Bottom of an Antineutrino Anomaly

  • Muriel Fallot, SUBATECH, CNRS/IN2P3, University of Nantes, Institut Mines-Telecom Atlantique, Rue Alfred Kastler, F-44307 Nantes, France

• Physics 10, 66

The Daya Bay Collaboration reports that sterile neutrinos probably aren’t behind a puzzling deficit in detected antineutrinos at nuclear reactors.

Figure 1: Antineutrinos are produced in nuclear reactors when the radioactive products of nuclear fission undergo beta decay (


), a process in which a neutron (encircled blue sphere) decays into a proton (encircled green sphere), an electron (not shown), and an electron antineutrino (


). In 2011, researchers realized that fewer antineutrinos were being detected at nuclear reactors than theory predicted—a potential sign that some antineutrinos were oscillating into undetectable “sterile” neutrinos (


). The Daya Bay Collaboration has now shown that…

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