- Jason Newby, Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division
Neutrinos are the more exotic siblings to other common particles such as electrons and muons within the family of particles called leptons. Neutrinos are known to have mass, but so little that we have yet to measure it, and they interact with matter so weakly that they pass through planets unimpeded. Understanding these particles may hold the key to explaining how matter won out over antimatter in the evolution of our universe and how many of the key elements of life are formed and dispersed in spectacular stellar explosions. The neutrinos produced at the Spallation Neutron Source are ideally suited for a broad set of exploratory and high-precision neutrino physics measurements due to the accelerator's intensity, pulsed-structure, and proton beam-energy. The first observation of coherent elastic neutrino nuclear scattering was recently made by the COHERENT experiment. This most frequent of all neutrino interactions was predicted over forty years ago but had eluded observation due to enormous experimental challenges. This basic interaction now lays the foundation for a new era of compact neutrino detectors and provides a new tool to address a host of physics topics, including electromagnetic properties, searches for physics beyond the standard model, and nuclear form factors. The recent first-observation measurement and anticipated results from currently operating detectors will be discussed. We will also present some of the science possibilities of an expanded experimental program.