Several SM extensions propose the addition of heavy, right-handed neutrinos to explain the smallness of neutrino masses. There are also theories adding a fourth, sterile neutrino in the context of neutrino oscillations, but I’m not sure what is the the difference between the two theories. Are all the sterile neutrinos right-handed or am I totally off?


1 Answer 1


Heavy, right-handed neutrinos and sterile neutrinos are similar in that both involve the addition of new neutrino type beyond the three known neutrinos (electron, muon, and tau neutrinos). However there are some differences between these two types of neutrinos:

Heavy, right-handed neutrinos are much heavier than the normal neutrinos. They are added to explain the smallness of known neutrino masses and are often incorporated in models of seesaw mechanism.

On the other hand, sterile neutrinos are those that do not interact via the weak force. Sterile neutrinos are added to explain some anomalies in neutrino oscillations. Sterile neutrinos in general can be either right-handed or left-handed.


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