Observation of geo-neutrinos

G. Bellini, J. Benziger, S. Bonetti, M. Buizza Avanzini, B. Caccianiga, L. Cadonati, F. Calaprice, C. Carraro, A. Chavarria, F. Dalnoki-Veress, D. D'Angelo, S. Davini, H. de Kerret, A. Derbin, A. Etenko, G. Fiorentini, K. Fomenko, D. Franco, C. Galbiati, S. GazzanaC. Ghiano, M. Giammarchi, M. Goeger-Neff, A. Goretti, E. Guardincerri, S. Hardy, Aldo Ianni, Andrea Ianni, M. Joyce, V. V. Kobychev, Y. Koshio, G. Korga, D. Kryn, M. Laubenstein, M. Leung, T. Lewke, E. Litvinovich, B. Loer, P. Lombardi, L. Ludhova, I. Machulin, S. Manecki, W. Maneschg, G. Manuzio, Q. Meindl, E. Meroni, L. Miramonti, M. Misiaszek, D. Montanari, V. Muratova, L. Oberauer, M. Obolensky, F. Ortica, M. Pallavicini, L. Papp, L. Perasso, S. Perasso, A. Pocar, R. S. Raghavan, G. Ranucci, A. Razeto, A. Re, B. Ricci, P. Risso, A. Romani, D. Rountree, A. Sabelnikov, R. Saldanha, C. Salvo, S. Schönert, H. Simgen, M. Skorokhvatov, O. Smirnov, A. Sotnikov, S. Sukhotin, Y. Suvorov, R. Tartaglia, G. Testera, D. Vignaud, R. B. Vogelaar, F. von Feilitzsch, J. Winter, M. Wojcik, A. Wright, M. Wurm, J. Xu, O. Zaimidoroga, S. Zavatarelli, G. Zuzel

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Abstract

Geo-neutrinos, electron anti-neutrinos produced in β decays of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes in the Earth, are a unique direct probe of our planet's interior. We report the first observation at more than 3σ C.L. of geo-neutrinos, performed with the Borexino detector at Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso. Anti-neutrinos are detected through the neutron inverse β decay reaction. With a 252.6 ton yr fiducial exposure after all selection cuts, we detected 9.9+4.1-3.4(+14.6-8.2) geo-neutrino events, with errors corresponding to a 68.3% (99.73%) C.L. From the ln L profile, the statistical significance of the Borexino geo-neutrino observation corresponds to a 99.997% C.L. Our measurement of the geo-neutrinos rate is 3.9+1.6-1.3(+5.8-3.2) events/(100 ton yr). The observed prompt positron spectrum above 2.6 MeV is compatible with that expected from European nuclear reactors (mean base line of approximately 1000 km). Our measurement of reactor anti-neutrinos excludes the non-oscillation hypothesis at 99.60% C.L. This measurement rejects the hypothesis of an active geo-reactor in the Earth's core with a power above 3 TW at 95% C.L.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
JournalPhysics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics
Volume687
Issue number4-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 19 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anti-neutrinos from reactors
  • Geo-neutrino
  • Neutrino detector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

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  • Cite this

    Bellini, G., Benziger, J., Bonetti, S., Avanzini, M. B., Caccianiga, B., Cadonati, L., Calaprice, F., Carraro, C., Chavarria, A., Dalnoki-Veress, F., D'Angelo, D., Davini, S., de Kerret, H., Derbin, A., Etenko, A., Fiorentini, G., Fomenko, K., Franco, D., Galbiati, C., ... Zuzel, G. (2010). Observation of geo-neutrinos. Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics, 687(4-5), 299-304. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physletb.2010.03.051