Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

DUNE and MINERvA Flux Studies and a Measurement of the CCQE Charged-Current Quasielastic Anti-neutrino Scattering Cross Section with <E_{\nu}>~ 6 GeV on a CH Target

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  • One of the biggest open questions in physics is the prevalence of matter over anti-matter in the present universe. One of possible answers lies in the violation of charge and parity symmetry in the lepton sector that would favor matter over anti-matter so that the universe becomes dominated by matter over time. Recent results from neutrino experiments like T2K and NOvA have indicated that there is CP violation in the leptonic sector. However, the precise measurement of CP violation will require an unprecedented level of accuracy in these oscillation experiments. One of the challenges lies with the systematic uncertainties that come with the measurements, which include uncertainties related to the neutrino flux modeling, interaction modeling and detector related systematic uncertainties. The first part of this thesis will go through the challenges related to flux uncertainties. It will discuss the flux uncertainties related to hadron production in the LBNF beamline for the DUNE experiment. Hadron production models used in flux simulations vary widely depending on the simulation and choice of physics models used to simulate the hadron production. This thesis will explain the method of using existing hadron production data to constrain these uncertainties, a method which has been used in MINERvA experiment. The second part of the thesis goes through the effect of possible flux mismodeling and MINERvA’s approach to address this effect. In doing so, we discovered that the suspected mismodeling could also result from incorrect estimation of the energy scale of the muons. This project not only demonstrated the challenges of flux modeling but also led to a novel approach of using neutrino energy spectra to understand the correlation between detector and neutrino beamline parameters. A high statistics measurement of the anti-neutrino scattering cross section in the charged current quasielastic (CCQE) channel is the final part of the thesis. The 2-body interactions in this channel have the advantage of allowing reconstruction of the interaction kinematics from the outgoing muon trajectory which can be measured very well. Double differential cross sections as a function of muon kinematics, one of the deliverables of this analysis, will help future oscillation experiments understand their data. The cross-section as a function of the four-momentum transferred from the leptonic system to the hadronic system (Q2) can be used to test models used in simulating antineutrino interactions and the nuclear effects that can modify the predicted cross sections. Nuclear effects arise from the complex nuclear environment and both modify the initial scattering and change the fate of the particles produced from in neutrino-nucleus interactions. The study of nuclear effects will help to understand the structure of the atomic nucleus and its impact on neutrino interactions.
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