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According to my understanding, scientists in Sudbury Canada and Japan were confused for a while on why they were getting only 1/3 of the expected neutrino capture from the sun.

They then theorized that they were set up to only detect the electron neutrino and that there could be quantum oscillations between the other flavors of neutrinos, namely muon and tau.

To test this theory they used heavy water (D2O) instead of normal water and indeed the missing neutrino flavors were detected. For this they received the Nobel prize.

Is my understanding correct in that the Chernenkov radiation from neutrino absorbtion by deuterium nuclei enabled detection of all 3 neutrino flavors? How?

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  • $\begingroup$ The neutrino's from the sun are all of one type. The heavy water was to detect that type. The mixing with the other neutrino types resulted in 2/3's of the neutrinos not being the 'right' type for detection. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Aug 1 '17 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ Neutral current interaction. $\endgroup$ – Cosmas Zachos Aug 1 '17 at 22:18
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    $\begingroup$ While the question is certainly not a duplicate, my answer to an older question covers the detection methods. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Aug 2 '17 at 3:50

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