Evidence for Neutral-Current Diffractive π0 Production from Hydrogen in Neutrino Interactions on Hydrocarbon

J. Wolcott, L. Aliaga, O. Altinok, A. Bercellie, M. Betancourt, A. Bodek, A. Bravar, H. Budd, T. Cai, M. F. Carneiro, J. Chvojka, H. Da Motta, J. Devan, S. A. Dytman, G. A. Díaz, B. Eberly, E. Endress, J. Felix, L. Fields, R. FineR. Galindo, H. Gallagher, T. Golan, R. Gran, D. A. Harris, A. Higuera, K. Hurtado, M. Kiveni, J. Kleykamp, M. Kordosky, T. Le, E. Maher, S. Manly, W. A. Mann, C. M. Marshall, D. A. Martinez Caicedo, K. S. McFarland, C. L. McGivern, A. M. McGowan, B. Messerly, J. Miller, A. Mislivec, J. G. Morfín, J. Mousseau, D. Naples, J. K. Nelson, A. Norrick, Nuruzzaman, J. Osta, V. Paolone, MINERvA Collaboration

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Abstract

The MINERvA experiment observes an excess of events containing electromagnetic showers relative to the expectation from Monte Carlo simulations in neutral-current neutrino interactions with mean beam energy of 4.5 GeV on a hydrocarbon target. The excess is characterized and found to be consistent with neutral-current π0 production with a broad energy distribution peaking at 7 GeV and a total cross section of 0.26±0.02(stat.)±0.08(sys.)×10-39 cm2. The angular distribution, electromagnetic shower energy, and spatial distribution of the energy depositions of the excess are consistent with expectations from neutrino neutral-current diffractive π0 production from hydrogen in the hydrocarbon target. These data comprise the first direct experimental observation and constraint for a reaction that poses an important background process in neutrino-oscillation experiments searching for νμ to νe oscillations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111801
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume117
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 7 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Physical Society.

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