Neutrinos, those tiny, finicky particles that stream through the universe like almost nothing, may actually be interacting with light after all.
According to new calculations, interactions between neutrinos and photons can occur in strong magnetic fields that can be found in the plasma wrapped around stars.
It’s a discovery that could help us understand why the Sun’s atmosphere is hotter than its surface, say physicists Kenzo Ishikawa of Hokkaido University and Yutaka Tobita, a physicist from Hokkaido University of Science — and of course study the mysterious ghost particle in the Sun. In more detail.
“Our results are important for understanding the quantum mechanical interactions of some fundamental particles of matter.” Ishikawa says. “It may also help reveal details of currently poorly understood phenomena in the Sun and other stars.”
Neutrinos are Among the most abundant molecules In the universe, it is second only to photons. But they mostly keep to themselves. Neutrons are almost massless and barely interact with matter. For neutrinos, the universe is nothing – shadows or ghosts, through which they pass easily. Billions of neutrinos are passing through you now, like tiny ghosts.
But scientists believe neutrinos It can be important To probe and discover astrophysical phenomena Why the universe is the way it isand improve our understanding of particle physics. Knowing whether and how they interact with the universe reveals not only information about neutrinos, but about the interactions of particles and the quantum universe.
Ishikawa and Tobita’s work is theoretical, using mathematical analysis to determine the conditions under which neutrons can interact with electromagnetic quanta – photons. They discovered that the highly magnetized plasma is a gas Positively or negatively chargedDue to subtraction or addition of electrons – provides the appropriate environment.
“Under normal ‘classical’ conditions, neutrinos will not interact with photons.” Ishikawa says.
“However, we have revealed how neutrinos and photons can be induced to interact in regular magnetic fields of very large scale – up to 10 orders of magnitude.”3 How much – It exists in the form of a substance known as plasma, which is found around stars.”
Previously, Ishikawa and Tobita I explored the possibility A theoretical phenomenon known as the electroweak Hall effect could facilitate neutrino interactions in the solar atmosphere. This happens when, under extreme conditions, two of the most fundamental reactions in the universe occur, Electromagnetism And the Weak strengthkind of blending together into one.
The researchers found that under the electroweak theory, neutrinos can interact with photons. If a star’s atmosphere were capable of producing the right environment for the electroweak Hall effect, these interactions could occur there.
In their paper, Ishikawa and Tobita calculate the energy states of the photon-neutrino system during this interaction.
“In addition to contributing to our understanding of fundamental physics, our work may also help explain the so-called solar corona heating puzzle.” Ishikawa says.
“This is a long-standing mystery regarding the mechanism by which the Sun’s outer atmosphere – the corona – is at a much higher temperature than the Sun’s surface. Our work shows that the interaction between neutrinos and photons releases energy that heats the Sun’s atmosphere. The solar corona.”
In future work, the duo hopes to conduct further research into how neutrinos and photons exchange energy in extreme environments.
The research was published in Physics is open.
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