Unlocking the mysteries of particle physics

New research has discovered new interactions between neutrinos and photons, shedding light on mysteries in particle physics and solar phenomena.

Elusive elementary particles called neutrinos are predicted to interact unexpectedly with photons under extreme conditions.

Research in Hokkaido University It has revealed that elusive particles called neutrinos can interact with photons, the fundamental particles of light, and other electromagnetic radiation in previously undetected ways. The findings by Hokkaido University professor Kenzo Ishikawa and Hokkaido University of Science lecturer Yutaka Tobita were published in the journal. Physics is open.

„Our results are important for understanding the quantum mechanical interactions of some of the fundamental particles of matter,” says Ishikawa. „They may also help reveal details of currently poorly understood phenomena in the Sun and other stars.”

The mystery of the neutrino

Neutrinos are one of the most mysterious elementary particles of matter. They are very difficult to study because they rarely interact with other particles. They are electrically neutral and almost massless. Yet they are so abundant that vast numbers continue to stream from the Sun and pass the Earth, without actually having any effect on ourselves. Learning more about neutrinos is important to test and refine our current understanding of particle physics known as the Standard Model.

Total solar eclipse with solar corona

Total solar eclipse, solar corona visible.

„Under normal 'classical’ conditions, neutrinos do not interact with photons,” explains Ishikawa, „however, we have demonstrated how neutrinos and photons can be induced to interact in very large uniform magnetic fields 10 .3 found in the form of an object called KM Plasma, which occurs around stars. Plasma is an ionized gas, meaning that all of its atoms have an excess or deficiency of electrons, creating negatively or positively charged ions rather than the neutral atoms that can occur under everyday conditions on Earth.

Electroweak Hall effect and its implications

The interaction described by the researchers involves a theoretical phenomenon known as the electroweak Hall effect. It is the interaction of electricity and magnetism under extreme conditions where the two fundamental forces of nature—electromagnetism and the weak force—combine with the electroweak force. This is a theoretical concept that is expected to apply only at the very highest energy levels of the early universe or within collisions in particle accelerators.

Research has provided a mathematical explanation for this unexpected neutrino.Photon Correlation called Lagrangian. It describes all that is known about the energy levels of the system.

Kenzo Ishikawa

Kenzo Ishikawa, first and corresponding author of the study. Credit: Sohail Keegan Pinto

„In addition to its contribution to our understanding of fundamental physics, our work may also help explain the so-called solar corona heating puzzle,” says Ishikawa. „It’s a long-standing mystery about the mechanism by which the Sun’s outer atmosphere—its corona—is at a higher temperature than the Sun’s surface. Our work shows that the interaction between neutrinos and photons releases energy to heat the solar corona.

In closing remarks, Ishikawa expressed his team’s ambition: „We now hope to continue our work in the search for deeper insights, particularly into the energy transfer between neutrinos and photons under these extreme conditions.”

Reference: Kenzo Ishikawa and Yutaka Tobita, 12 August 2023, “Topological interaction of a neutrino with a photon in a magnetic field – Electroweak Hall effect”, Physics is open.
DOI: 10.1016/j.physo.2023.100174

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