IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica

Ultra-high energy events key to study of ghost particles

Physicists at Washington University in St. Louis have proposed a way to use data from ultra-high energy neutrinos to study interactions beyond the standard model of particle physics.

The ‘Zee burst’ model leverages new data from large neutrino telescopes such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica and its future extensions.

“Neutrinos continue to intrigue us and stretch our imagination. These ‘ghost particles’ are the least understood in the standard model, but they hold the key to what lies beyond,” said Bhupal Dev, assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences and author of a new study in Physical Review Letters.

“So far, all nonstandard interaction studies at IceCube have focused only on the low-energy atmospheric neutrino data,” said Dev, who is part of Washington University’s McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences. “The ‘Zee burst’ mechanism provides a new tool to probe nonstandard interactions using the ultra-high energy neutrinos at IceCube.”

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Photo: IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica. (photo courtesy Felipe Pedreros/IceCube and National Science Foundation)