Illinois Tech Physicists Contribute to New Daya Bay Measurement

Several Illinois Tech physicists contributed to the most recent results from the Daya Bay neutrino experiment, which is measuring the neutrino flavor oscillation parameter θ13 to world-leading precision. They include Assistant Professor Bryce Littlejohn, Vice Provost Christopher White, and postdoc David Martinez.

In the article “Measurement of the Reactor Antineutrino Flux and Spectrum at Daya Bay,” an editor’s pick in Physics Review Letters earlier this month, Daya Bay researchers reported on their most recent measurement of neutrinos emanating from a complex of nuclear reactors near Shenzhen, China.

They found that the total number and energies of neutrinos seen by the Daya Bay detectors did not match state-of-the-art reactor predictions. This result indicates that the contents of an operating nuclear reactor core may be different than what nuclear theorists have predicted, which could have significant impacts on nuclear power applications and other neutrino physics experiments.

Littlejohn led an analysis group that determined what percentage of neutrinos interacting at Daya Bay are actually detected, an essential input to comparing measured and predicted neutrino production rates. White serves on the Daya Bay Publications Committee, which shepherded review and submission of the article. Martinez also contributed to the data analysis for this measurement.

The results were also reported in Symmetry Magazine. The Daya Bay collaboration was also selected as one of the winners of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Physics.