Sterile neutrinos in cold climates
Author(s)Jones, Benjamin J. P
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics.
Janet M. Conrad.
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Measurements of neutrino oscillations at short baselines contain an intriguing set of experimental anomalies that may be suggestive of new physics such as the existence of sterile neutrinos. This three-part thesis presents research directed towards understanding these anomalies and searching for sterile neutrino oscillations. Part I contains a theoretical discussion of neutrino coherence properties. The open-quantum-system picture of neutrino beams, which allows a rigorous prediction of coherence distances for accelerator neutrinos, is presented. Validity of the standard treatment of active and sterile neutrino oscillations at short baselines is verified and non-standard coherence loss effects at longer baselines are predicted. Part II concerns liquid argon detector development for the MicroBooNE experiment, which will search for short-baseline oscillations in the Booster Neutrino Beam at Fermilab. Topics include characterization and installation of the MicroBooNE optical system; test-stand measurements of liquid argon optical properties with dissolved impurities; optimization of wavelength-shifting coatings for liquid argon scintillation light detection; testing and deployment of high-voltage surge arrestors to protect TPC field cages; and software development for optical and TPC simulation and reconstruction. Part III presents a search for sterile neutrinos using the IceCube neutrino telescope, which has collected a large sample of atmospheric-neutrino-induced events in the 1-10 TeV energy range. Sterile neutrinos would modify the detected neutrino flux shape via MSW-resonant oscillations. Following a careful treatment of systematic uncertainties in the sample, no evidence for MSW-resonant oscillations is observed, and exclusion limits on 3+1 model parameter space are derived. Under the mixing assumptions made, the 90% confidence level exclusion limit extends to ... , and the LSND and MiniBooNE allowed regions are excluded at >99% confidence level.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Physics, 2015.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 313-339).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology