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A proposed search for Sterile Neutrinos with the ICARUS detector at the CERN-PS (C. Rubbia)

March 17, 2011

The Neutel Conference is almost over (tomorrow morning session is the last one), even is the best is yet to come, meaning that this evening the participants are going to have the social dinner at the “Circolo Ufficiali” in the marvellous location of the “Fondamenta dell’Arsenale”.

Moving backwards prom parties to physics, and trying to draw a partial conclusion from what we heard up to now, I would say that the most longed-for experimental results (in primis XENON100 but also MEG) didn’t come, but one issue definitely emerged, i.e. the lack of knowledge of neutrino interactions on short-baselines both at reactors and accelerators. Actually in these days many anomalous effects have been presented, by T. Lasserre and G. Mills, possibly hinting at a 4th sterile neutrino state (T. Schwetz and C. Giunti), so that the idea of a definite experiment, presented this morning by C. Rubbia, is really attractive.

As already mentioned in a previous post, the idea is to put 2 identical LAr-TPC detectors at a refurbised CERN-PS muon neutrino beam.

Layout of near and far detectors for a future sterile neutrino search experiments at a refurbished nu-mu beam at CERN-PS

The idea behind this proposal is based on the search for spectral differences of electron like specific signatures in two identical LAr-TPC detectors but at two different distances: a 150t detector, to be build anew, 127m far from target and a 600t detector, possibly ICARUST600 moved from LNGS to CERN after the end ofoperations, 850m far from target.

LAr-TPC technique has demonstrated to work properly with ICARUS first operations; the other key-feature for the success of such an experiment is the identity of the nu-e spectra in Near and Far positions (due to the fact that electrons are produced exclusively by the K-decays with a much wider angular distribution). Sensitivities of such an experiment are very promising in the look for both the disappearance “reactor” anomaly and in the appearance LSND/MiniBooNE signal.

Sensitivities of the proposed experiment at CERN-PS: to disappearance anomalies at 90% C.L. (left) in 2 years data taking; to the appearance signal in 2 years data taking with neutrino beam (middle) and 4 years data taking with anti-neutrino beam (right).

Rubbia ended up by underlying the need for “fresh manpower”: a new Collaboration should be built up in order to start an experiment like that.

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