ICARUS Experiment Claims Neutrinos Aren’t Faster Than Light


Interior of the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND)

A new Italian experiment indicates that neutrinos stay within the speed of light. The findings were posted on arXiv.org as a preprint, and contradict rival claims that neutrinos could break causality and travel faster than the speed of light.

Neutrinos are particles that are tiny, electrically neutral and are produced in nuclear reactions. In September 2011, it was reported by a team working on the OPERA experiment that neutrinos traveled faster than the speed of light. OPERA detected neutrinos sent from CERN and made the journey 60 nanoseconds faster than if they had traveled at the speed of light.


Kamioka Liquid Scintillator Anti-Neutrino Detector (KamLAND)

Particle physicists remained skeptical about these findings, as this would break causality and find fault in Albert Eintsein’s axiom that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

ICARUS-detectorThe ICARUS experiment has measured neutrinos traveling at roughly the speed of light. The pulses of neutrinos were measured in pulses that were just 3 nanoseconds long, meaning that this was going to be more accurate than OPERA’s 10-microsecond pulses by more than an order of magnitude.

The results were that the neutrinos arrived within 4 nanoseconds of the time it would have taken light to travel through vacuum, which is well within the experimental margin of error.

OPERA’s findings have been under intense scrutiny ever since they were made public in the experimental scientific community. On February 23rd, OPERA scientists admitted to possible timing problems with their original measurements.

Some physicists claim that this latest experiment concludes that OPERA published faulty measurements and that neutrinos do not travel faster than the speed of light.

[via Nature]

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