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Borexino Sees First Evidence of Neutrinos from the Rare pep Solar Fusion Process

In a recently published article (Phys.Rev.Lett. 108, 051302) the Borexino Collaboration, including members of the Virginia Tech group lead by Prof. Bruce Vogelaar, announced a first ever observation of neutrinos from the sun consistent with the rare fusion process in which two light hydrogen nuclei, or protons, combine with an electron to make a heavy hydrogen nucleus, known as a duteron, and an electron neutrino. This process know as pep fusion is about 500 times less likely than the primary pp process in which a two protons combine to to make a duteron, and electron and an electron neutrino. While neutrinos from the pp fusion process are much more common, neutrinos from the pep process have higher energies, which makes it possible for them to be seen in the Borexino detector.

      The Borexino observation is consistant with the Standard Solar Model prediction for flux of neutrinos from the pep fusion combined with the best fit model of neutrino oscillations.

See the Article in APS Spotlight

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