MINOS Document 11713-v1

Thesis: Search for Sterile Neutrinos with the MINOS Long-Baseline Experiment

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Ashley Timmons
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Ashley Timmons
Document Created:
01 Dec 2016, 10:16
Contents Revised:
01 Dec 2016, 10:16
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24 Jan 2017, 05:33
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This thesis will present a search for sterile neutrinos using data taken with the MINOS experiment between 2005 and 2012. MINOS is a two-detector on-axis experiment based at Fermilab. The NuMI neutrino beam encounters the MINOS Near Detector \unit[1]{\km} downstream of the neutrino-production target before travelling a further \unit[734]{\km} through the Earth's crust, to reach the Far Detector located at the Soudan Underground Laboratory in Northern Minnesota. By searching for oscillations driven by a large mass splitting, MINOS is sensitive to the existence of sterile neutrinos through looking for any energy-dependent perturbations using a charged-current sample, as well as looking at any relative deficit in neutral current events between the Far and Near Detectors. This thesis will discuss the novel analysis that enabled a search for sterile neutrinos covering five orders of magnitude in the mass splitting and setting a limit in previously unexplored regions of the parameter space $\left\{\Delta m^{2}_{41},\sin^2\theta_{24}\right\}$, where a 3+1-flavour phenomenological model was used to extract parameter limits. The results presented in this thesis are sensitive to the sterile neutrino parameter space suggested by the LSND and MiniBooNE experiments.
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