Scientists have made a major breakthrough that could help us understand the origin of our universe, they say.
The researchers discovered clues to a difference between the behavior of neutrons and antineutrinos. This, in turn, could help demonstrate why there is so much antimatter matter in the universe – and, in turn, how everything around us became.
One of the biggest challenges in understanding the universe is that the Big Bang should have created the universe with equal amounts of antimatter and matter. Observations from the cosmos, however, show that it is made of matter – and researchers have struggled to explain where this missing antimatter could have gone.
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To explain the existence of the universe, scientists believe that there must be something different in matter and antimatter, which would explain why the universe seems to favor one over the other. The new breakthrough may reveal where this asymmetry comes from.
The new discoveries come from the T2K experience in Japan. There, detector researchers observe neutrinos and antineutrinos that are generated nearly 300 kilometers from the Japanese Proton Accelerator Research Complex.
While traveling between and across the Earth, particles switch between different properties called flavors. New research has shown that neutrinos and antineutronos do this by observing the flavor of the different particles when they are created.
After nine years of such observations, the experiment revealed that there was something different between the fundamental particles, which could help explain the difference that is seen across the universe, although they warn that additional research is needed to confirm the findings.
“Our data continue to suggest that nature almost prefers the maximum value of asymmetry for this process,” said Laura Kormos, lecturer in physics at Lancaster University, head of the Lancaster neutrino physics group and researcher at T2K. “It would be like Mother Nature if these tiny, seemingly insignificant and difficult-to-study particles were the lifeblood of the universe. “
If confirmed and other planned experiments take place, the discovery could help find the so-called missing antimatter that puzzled scientists as they search for an explanation for the strange lag in the universe and the origin of the cosmos.
The new study, “Constraint on the phase violating matter-antimatter symmetry in neutrino oscillations”, is published in the latest edition of Nature.