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Mysterious neutrino surplus hints at the existence of new particles

The MiniBooNE experiment found more interactions of the subatomic particles than expected

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3:45pm, June 1, 2018
MiniBooNE

NEW NEUTRINO?  The particle detector MiniBooNE (shown) observed an excess of neutrino interactions, which may hint at the existence of a new type of neutrino.

Pip-squeak particles called neutrinos are dishing out more than scientists had bargained for.

A particle detector has spotted a puzzling abundance of the lightweight subatomic particles and their antimatter partners, antineutrinos, physicists report May 30 at arXiv.org. The finding mirrors a neutrino excess found more than two decades ago. And that match has researchers wondering if a new type of particle called a sterile neutrino — one even more shadowy than the famously elusive ordinary neutrinos — might be at large.

Such a particle, if it exists, would transform the foundations of particle physics and could help solve cosmic puzzles like the existence of dark matter, an unidentified inert substance that makes up the preponderance of the matter in the universe.

The new study was conducted with a neutrino detector called MiniBooNE, while the previous neutrino excess was found with a different apparatus,

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