A Pedagogical Discussion on Neutrino Wave-packet Evolution

Cheng Hsien Li, Yong Zhong Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We present a pedagogical discussion on the time evolution of a Gaussian neutrino wave packet in free space. A common treatment is to keep momentum terms up to the quadratic order in the expansion of the energy-momentum relation so that the Fourier transform can be evaluated analytically via Gaussian integrals. This leads to a solution representing a flat Gaussian distribution with a constant longitudinal width and a spreading transverse width, which suggests that special relativity would be violated if the neutrino wave packet were detected on its edge. However, we demonstrate that by including terms of higher order in momentum the correct geometry of the wave packet is restored. The corrected solution has a spherical wave front so that it complies with special relativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-728
Number of pages5
JournalPhysics Procedia
StatePublished - 2015
Event13th International Conference on Topics in Astroparticle and Underground Physics, TAUP 2013 - , United States
Duration: Sep 8 2013Sep 13 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the US DOE Award No. DE-FG02-87ER40328.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.


  • neutrino wave packet
  • quantum mechanics
  • special relativity


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