CAREER: A Keystone for Precision Neutrino Physics: Multi-Target Neutrino-Nucleus Cross Section Measurements with the Fermilab Short-Baseline Neutrino Program

Project Details


One of the major intellectual achievements of the 20th century was the development of the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics. This model succeeded in classifying all of the elementary particles known at the time into a hierarchy of groups having similar quantum properties. However, the Standard Model as it currently exists leaves open many questions about the universe, including such fundamental questions as to why the Higgs mass has the value it has and why there is no antimatter in the universe. One of the primary areas to search for answers to these and other open questions about the universe is to focus on a study of the properties of neutrinos and to use what we know and can learn about neutrinos as probes of science beyond the Standard Model. We now know there are three kinds of neutrinos that are distinguishable through the different interactions that they undergo whenever there is an interaction. We also know that neutrinos do have a mass and because they do, they can actually change from one type to another. Detailed measurements of these changes, along with other current neutrino experiments, form one of the most promising ways to probe for new physics beyond the Standard Model. Such measurements lie at the heart of this award which will study neutrino-nucleus interactions in order to deeply understand how neutrinos oscillate from one type to another. This work will be crucial to the upcoming neutrino experiment, DUNE, at the U.S. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL), one of the top-priority experiments in High Energy Physics. This research group at Rutgers University will also broaden diversity in physics by using their data analysis work to promote engagement in physics among African-American New Jersey high school students.

There is currently a large interest in experimental particle physics in Liquid Argon Time Projection Chambers (LArTPC) spurred in part by the new DUNE project at FNAL and in neutrino physics in general. Another technology of interest to DUNE is water-based liquid scintillator detectors. This award will develop both of these technologies and study neutrino interactions with both liquid argon and liquid scintillator. The data will be obtained using the Booster Neutrino Beam at FNAL and the detectors of the ANNIE and SBND experiments. A simultaneous measurement of neutrino interactions with water and argon targets using the same high-intensity neutrino beam will precisely relate these two nuclei, enable stringent constraints on models, deepen our understanding of crucial energy losses to neutrons in liquid argon detectors, and enable scientists to quantitatively re-tune models. These advances will enable improved cross-experiment comparisons that enhance our global picture, and broadly extend the physics capabilities of liquid argon based detectors. In particular, the proposed work represents a unique window of opportunity to enable future joint analysis of DUNE and Hyper-Kamiokande data.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date3/15/212/28/26


  • National Science Foundation: $440,000.00


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