Observatory buried under Antarctica discovers seven “ghostly particles”

Neutrinos can be divided into three groups: Electron, muon and tau. It must be emphasized that it is very difficult to identify tau neutrinos. Therefore, IceCube's discovery of it is a major achievement.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory or simply IceCube is located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. It was placed deep within the ice, where thousands of spherical optical sensors and digital optical modules (DOMs) were inserted. IceCube was intended Searching for point sources of neutrinos And search The highest energies of astrophysical processes.

IceCube detects neutrinos using DOM, a total of 5,160 of which are embedded deep in the ice. When neutrinos interact with ice particles, they produce charged particles that emit blue light as they travel through the ice. Individual DOMs record and digitize this signal. “The light produces distinct patterns, one of which is double cascade events created by the interaction of high-energy tau neutrinos in the detector.” – We read in the article.

Researchers gained new impetus to search for neutrinos when previous analyzes revealed some clues from the search Accurate signatures Produced by tau neutrinos. Each detected suspicious event was converted into three images. Hence, to distinguish images produced by neutrinos from those produced by different backgrounds, the researchers trained improved convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for image classification.

Simulations confirmed the sensitivity to tau neutrinos. As a result, based on data collected in 2011-2020, scientists obtained seven possible strong tau neutrino events. “The probability of the background imitating the signal was estimated to be less than one in 3.5 million.” – Adds one of the researchers, Doge Quinn.

It is very difficult to observe such small particles coming from the depths of space. Neutrinos have been captured, but others, such as the hypothetical axion, remain elusive. Scientists hope to prove the existence of others Elementary particles It will allow us to explain, at least in part, the origin of dark matter in the universe.

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