0000005625 20W 2SWS VO Neutrinos and Societal Applications   Hilfe Logo

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Neutrinos and Societal Applications 
Winter semester 2020/21
Chair of Experimental Astro­particle Physics (E15) - (Prof. Schönert)
(Contact information)
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The development of technologies over the past 20 years creates unique opportunities to use neutrinos in new ways to advance our knowledge of the sources that produce them, namely: the stars, the earth, the nuclear reactors. Furthermore, man-made neutrinos produced at accelerators could allow for a new way to communicate in the shortest manner. Neutrino applications are difficult to quantify and predict in the short term, and the purpose of this lecture is to review and discuss ideas that are now or could later be considerably useful to society.

The first two lectures will be an introduction to nuclear, particle and neutrino physics, to allow students at the master level and beyond to acquire the necessary basics in neutrino physics to understand the current and envisaged applications.

The next three lectures would develop the possibility to infer the Earth Heat and geochemical mantle composition, using the so-called geo-neutrinos, low-energy electron antineutrinos that are emitted by the radioactive decays within our planet. Geo-neutrinos allow geophysicists and geochemists to learn about the composition of our planet without drilling kilometers below the surface. They provide a unique opportunity to probe the chemical composition of the Earth mantle and core.

Then, three lectures would be dedicated to the question of non-proliferation of fissile materials. Indeed, the automatic and non-intrusive monitoring of a nuclear reactor by its electron antineutrino signal is of great value to the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA) responsible for the control of nuclear power plants. We will discuss the underlying physics leading to the monitoring of the thermal power and plutonium content, as well as the different efforts that occurred worldwide (including at TUM with the NUCLEUS experiment).

Then a few lectures will then focus on more futuristic applications concerning neutrinos produced by particle accelerators and their potential use for fast and long-range communications. Actually, neutrinos could easily pass through 1,000 light-years of lead, so crossing the earth would not be a problem. we will discuss how transmission of information using a beam of neutrinos can be achieved and could ultimately be used in situations where other means of communication are not feasible.

New applications of scientific discoveries in particle physics could come after a lag of decades. To conclude this program, we will review the open questions in neutrino physics. Solving these questions may lead to new and original application’s ideas in the future.
No previous knowledge is expected. New notions will be introduced during the lecture.
Knowledge will be acquired on experimental neutrino physics, and how to relate it to various other fields beyond fundamental particle physics: earth sciences, nuclear facilities, non-proliferation, and communications.
interactive lecture
The proposed lecture covers the full winter term, with two hours of frontal lecture and two hours of exercises and group teaching per week, leading to 12 lectures and the 11 tutorials from November 2020 to February 2021.
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e-learning course (moodle)