QED radiative corrections for accelerator neutrinos

Oleksandr Tomalak, Qing Chen, Richard J. Hill, Kevin S. McFarland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neutrino oscillation experiments at accelerator energies aim to establish charge-parity violation in the neutrino sector by measuring the energy-dependent rate of νe appearance and νμ disappearance in a νμ beam. These experiments can precisely measure νμ cross sections at near detectors, but νe cross sections are poorly constrained and require theoretical inputs. In particular, quantum electrodynamics radiative corrections are different for electrons and muons. These corrections are proportional to the small quantum electrodynamics coupling α ≈ 1/137; however, the large separation of scales between the neutrino energy and the proton mass (~GeV), and the electron mass and soft-photon detection thresholds (~MeV) introduces large logarithms in the perturbative expansion. The resulting flavor differences exceed the percent-level experimental precision and depend on nonperturbative hadronic structure. We establish a factorization theorem for exclusive charged-current (anti)neutrino scattering cross sections representing them as a product of two factors. The first factor is flavor universal; it depends on hadronic and nuclear structure and can be constrained by high-statistics νμ data. The second factor is non-universal and contains logarithmic enhancements, but can be calculated exactly in perturbation theory. For charged-current elastic scattering, we demonstrate the cancellation of uncertainties in the predicted ratio of νe and νμ cross sections. We point out the potential impact of non-collinear energetic photons and the distortion of the visible lepton spectra, and provide precise predictions for inclusive observables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5286
JournalNature Communications
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy

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