Appearance Probability Model of

Electron Anti-neutrinos Accounting for Different Reactor Distances


by Maria Veronica Prado

Advisors:  Dr. Glenn Horton-Smith and Dr. Larry Weaver

Kansas State University Physics Department  REU Program Williams College




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This page summarizes my research at Kansas State University for the 2014 REU program in physics. This summer, I worked with Dr. Glenn Horton-Smith and Dr. Larry Weaver researching how to empirically calculate the appearance probability of electron anti-neutrinos. We used the data taken at the KamLAND experiment site, analyzed it, and applied a new method of calculation in order to obtain an appearance probability that included different reactor distances.

Below, I describe my abstract and the reasons of why this research is important. I also attach my poster and a PowerPoint presentation for download.



The KamLAND experiment that had 56 reactor sources at multiple distances provided an appearance probability vs L0/Eν graph based on one average reactor distance. This research addresses a way to find a close approximation of the appearance probability by doing a change of variables to account for the different reactor distances. The appearance probability is then able to be calculated without any assumptions of neutrino oscillations. With the data obtained from the experiment at KamLAND, it was found that using the method described here proves that neutrinos do not have a constant appearance probability. Furthermore, the research shows an empirical appearance probability as a function of L/Eν with estimated correlated error.


 The Big Picture

A recently discovered property of neutrinos, precisely that they change forms as they move through a certain distance in space, was observed at the KamLAND experiment. With our research this summer, we wanted to calculate the probability that an electron anti-neutrino would arrive at the detector as an electron anti-neutrino when being shot at different distances. By doing this, we would:

      Gain knowledge about how neutrinos behave, which could lead to a better understanding of dark matter

      Gain knowledge about neutrinos to be able to control nuclear reactors more efficiently by monitoring neutrinos that leave  

The detector in Honshu, Japan.



For Download:




Useful Links: 

American Institute of Physics

American Physical Society

KamLAND Intro


This program is funded by the National Science Foundation through grant number PHY-1157044.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.