If an experiment is detecting accelerator neutrinos, then how can one distinguish the accelerator $\nu_{\mu}$-neutrinos from the atmospheric $\nu_{\mu}$-neutrinos? As I know, both of these types of neutrinos will be having almost the same energy ranges. Then how is it to possible to discriminate these two types of neutrinos in a given experimental setup?

  • $\begingroup$ That will depend on the experiment. Are you specifically thinking about the DUNE experiment? $\endgroup$ Oct 30 '18 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnRennie You can consider the example of NOvA. How is it known that the neutrinos detected in this experiment are accelerator neutrinos generated by NUMI beam only and they are not the atmospheric neutrinos? $\endgroup$
    – user176263
    Oct 30 '18 at 9:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is a matter that the experimenters generally address during design. The details vary hugely, but there are a handful of pretty standard techniques. Experimental proposals and initial design documents are almost always publicly available by the time they're building it (look on arXiv), so you can get the details straight from the horses mouth. $\endgroup$ Oct 30 '18 at 14:24

The design of the NOvA detectors is described in this article on the IOP web site.

The proton beam that generates the neutrinos is pulsed so the detectors know when to expect neutrinos from the source. In addition the detector can measure the direction of travel and the energy of the neutrinos. Combining these allows neutrinos from the source to be distinguished from atmospheric neutrinos and signals from other background sources.


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