Tuesday, February 16, 2016
4:00 pm

High Energy Physics Seminar

Unmasking the Neutrino: The Standard Model and Beyond
Diana Parno, University of Washington

  When nonzero neutrino mass was definitively established some fifteen years ago, these neutral, spin-1/2 elementary particles gave us the first hard evidence of beyond-the-Standard-Model physics in the electroweak sector. Today, many fundamental questions about neutrinos remain. In this talk, I will discuss two exciting projects, COHERENT and KATRIN, that will measure neutrino properties and probe the edges of the Standard Model. The COHERENT experiment, presently gearing up, plans to make the first unambiguous measurement of coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering, a predicted Standard Model process and an important background source for next-generation WIMP dark matter searches. Meanwhile, the KATRIN neutrino-mass experiment is nearing the end of construction and commissioning. Through a precise measurement of the endpoint region of the tritium beta spectrum, KATRIN will achieve a direct neutrino-mass scale sensitivity of 0.2 eV at the 90% confidence level. I will emphasize two particular contributions to KATRIN's sensitivity goals: the molecular physics of the T2 source, and the detection of signal electrons at the far end of the 70m beamline. Both KATRIN and COHERENT will explore potential physics topics beyond the Standard Model, from non-standard neutrino interactions, to Lorentz-invariance violation, to sterile neutrinos. Unmasking the neutrino will do more than fill in gaps: it may be a key to mysteries beyond.

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