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Virginia Tech Scientists Use Neutrinos to Probe the Sun's Core

      Scientists from VT's Center for Neutrino Physics are using neutrinos to study the core of the Sun. Professors Raju Raghavan and Bruce Vogelaar and their group have been working with an international collaboration based in Italy, known as Borexino to measure neutrinos from the decay of 7Be, an important intermediate step the chain of fusion process that fuel the Sun. Borexino, initially proposed by Prof. Raghavan in the 1980s, achieved their initial objective in 2007 when they announced the first real time detection of the 7Be neutrinos. Now the collaboration is working hard on refining their measurement of the 7Be flux, a task which relies on heavily on the calibration system designed at Virginia Tech.

      Virginia Tech is the lead institution on the development of a future solar neutrino detector, known as LENS. LENS is designed to observe neutrinos from proton-proton fusion, the process responsible for 94% of the Sun's energy. LENS spokesman, Raju Raghavan says, "LENS will make the first complete measurement of the solar neutrino energy spectrum — including the important low energy part — and provide a vital test of the standard solar model."

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