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Three families of detectors:

There are essentially three types of detectors, according to the energy or origin of the neutrino we want to detect:

Detectors for solar neutrinos: Solar neutrinos have an energy between 0 and 20 MeV, depending of the type of solar nuclear reaction they come. Underground, undersea or under the ice, the detectors made for them detect either the Cerenkov light emitted when a neutrino interact with the water (like Kamiokande or Super-Kamiokande) either the transformation of atoms under neutrino interaction, the remaining atom being radioactive: Chlorine 37 coming from Argon in the Homestake experiment, or Germanium 71 coming from Gallium like in GALLEX experiment. Here are some examples of detection principles for solar neutrinos.

Detectors near nuclear plants: The anti-neutrinos coming out of nuclear reactors are emitted in great quantity and have a mean energy of 4 MeV. The neutrino detector uses the inverse beta decay reaction ( (anti-neutrino + proton --> neutron + anti-electron) to detect anti-neutrinos. It detects the photons emitted when the neutron is absorbed by matter and when the anti-electron coming from the neutrino interaction annihilates with an electron of matter. This detection type was used by Reines et Cowan experiment for the first detection of neutrino in 1956, by BUGEY, by CHOOZ, etc... Here is shown the detection principle of the anti-neutrinos coming out of nuclear reactors.
exemple: [CHOOZ]

Detectors with neutrino beam: Nowadays, neutrinos generated by accelerators have an energy of some 10 MeV to some 100 GeV. The detectors in this case identify the particles coming out of the high energy neutrino interaction with a proton, a neutron or an electron of the detector matter. The neutrino beams are produced using a proton beam coming from an accelerator and sent against a Beryllium target, then filtered through a great amount of dense matter (lead, concrete, iron, earth...). This detection type was used by the Brookhaven experiment which discovered the nu_mu neutrino in 1962, by CHARM II experiment in 1974, by NOMAD or CHORUS experiments in 1995, etc...
example: [NOMAD]

Experiments present themselves (not exhasutive list):

Two important sites for past and present neutrinos studies

Underground detectors

Detectors near particles accelerators

Nuclear plant detectors

Undersea detectors

Detectors in ice

Solar models and experiments analysis





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Last update: 26/06/1999 :
Didier Verkindt