Article

Neutrino oscillations and uncertainty relations

Journal of Physics G Nuclear and Particle Physics (Impact Factor: 2.78). 02/2011; 38(11). DOI: 10.1088/0954-3899/38/11/115002
Source: arXiv
ABSTRACT
We show that coherent flavor neutrino states are produced (and detected) due
to the momentum-coordinate Heisenberg uncertainty relation. The Mandelstam-Tamm
time-energy uncertainty relation requires non-stationary neutrino states for
oscillations to happen and determines the time interval (propagation length)
which is necessary for that. We compare different approaches to neutrino
oscillations which are based on different physical assumptions but lead to the
same expression for the neutrino transition probability in standard neutrino
oscillation experiments. We show that a Moessbauer neutrino experiment could
allow to distinguish different approaches and we present arguments in favor of
the 163Ho-163Dy system for such an experiment.

Full-text

Available from: F. von Feilitzsch, Dec 20, 2013
arXiv:1102.2770v1 [hep-ph] 14 Feb 2011
Neutrino oscillations and uncertainty relations
S. M. Bilenky
Joint Institute fo r Nuclear Research, Dubna , R-14198 0, Russia
and
Physik-Department E15, Technische Universit¨at M¨unchen,
D-85748 Garching, Germany
F. von Feilitzsch and W. Potzel
Physik-Department E15, Technische Universit¨at M¨unchen,
D-85748 Garching, Germany
Abstract
We show that coherent flavor neutrino states are produced (and
detected) due to the momentum-coordinate Heisenber g uncertainty
relation. The Mandelstam-Tamm time-energy uncertainty relation re-
quires non-stationary neutrino states for oscillations to happen and de-
termines the time interval (propagation length) which is necessary for
that. We compare different approaches to neutrino oscillations which
are based on different physical assumptions but lead to the same ex-
pression for the neutrino transition probability in standard neutrino
oscillation experiments. We show that a ossbauer neutrino experi-
ment could allow to distinguish different approaches an d we present
arguments in favor of the
163
Ho -
163
Dy system for such an experiment.
1 Introduction
The observation of neutrino oscillations in atmospheric [1], solar [2], reactor
[3] and accelerator experiments [4, 5] is one of the most important recent
discoveries in particle physics. Small neutrino masses can not be of Standard-
Model orig in and are commonly considered as a signature of new physics
beyo nd the Standard Model.
All existing neutrino-oscillation data with the exception o f the data of
the LSND [6] and MiniBooNE antineutrino experiments [7], which require
1
Page 1
confirmation, are perfectly described under the assumption of three-neutrino
mixing
ν
lL
(x) =
3
X
i=1
U
li
ν
iL
(x). (1)
Here U is the PMNS [8, 9] 3 × 3 mixing matrix, which is characterized by
three mixing angles θ
12
, θ
23
, θ
13
and the CP phase δ, ν
i
(x) is the field of
neutrinos (Dirac or Majorana) with mass m
i
, and the ”mixed field” ν
lL
(x) is
the SM field which enters into the standard charged current
j
α
(x) =
X
l=e,µ,τ
¯ν
lL
(x) γ
α
l
L
(x). (2)
Existing neutrino-o scillation data are analyzed under the assumption that
the t r ansition probabilities between different flavor neutrinos are given by
the following standard expression (see, for example, [10])
P(ν
l
ν
l
) = δ
l
l
2 Re
X
i>k
U
l
i
U
li
U
l
k
U
lk
(1 e
i
m
2
ki
L
2E
). (3)
Here, L is the distance between neutrino source and neutrino detector, E is
the neutrino energy, m
2
ki
= m
2
i
m
2
k
. Notice that it is also convenient to
use for the transition probability another expression
P(ν
l
ν
l
) = δ
l
l
2
X
i
|U
li
|
2
(δ
l
l
|U
l
i
|
2
)(1 cos
m
2
ji
L
2E
) (4)
+2 Re
X
i>k
U
l
i
U
li
U
l
k
U
lk
(e
i
m
2
ji
L
2E
1 )(e
i
m
2
jk
L
2E
1),
where the index j is fixed.
The character of neutrino oscillations is determined by the following two
observed features of the neutrino-oscillation parameters:
The solar -KamLAND mass-squared difference m
2
S
is much smaller
than the atmospheric-accelerator mass-squared difference m
2
A
:
m
2
S
1
30
m
2
A
. (5)
2
Page 2
The mixing angle θ
13
is small [11]:
sin
2
θ
13
4 · 10
2
. (6)
From (4), ( 5) and (6 ) follows (see, for example, [10]) that the leading
oscillations in the atmospheric and accelerator experiments are ν
µ
ν
τ
and
¯ν
µ
¯ν
τ
and in solar and KamLAND experiments the leading oscillations
are ν
e
ν
µ,τ
and ¯ν
e
¯ν
µ,τ
.
In the leading approximation it is impossible to distinguish two possible
neutrino mass spectra:
Nor ma l spectrum
m
1
< m
2
< m
3
, m
2
12
m
2
23
.
Inverted spectrum
m
3
< m
1
< m
2
, m
2
12
|m
2
13
|.
In the case of the normal spectrum m
2
12
= m
2
S
, m
2
23
= m
2
A
and in
the case of the inverted spectrum m
2
12
= m
2
S
, m
2
13
= m
2
A
.
From the recent three-neutrino analysis of the Super- Kamiokande data
[1] the following 90% CL limits were found for the normal (inverted) neutrino
mass spectrum
1.9 (1 .7)·10
3
m
2
A
2.6 (2.7)·10
3
eV
2
, 0.407 sin
2
θ
23
0.583. (7)
For the parameter sin
2
θ
13
the following bounds were obtained
sin
2
θ
13
4 · 10
2
(9 · 10
2
). (8)
From the two-neutrino analysis of the MINOS data was found [5]
m
2
A
= (2.43 ± 0 .13) · 10
3
eV
2
, sin
2
2θ
23
> 0.90 (9)
From the three-neutrino global analysis of the solar and reactor KamLAND
data was obtained [3]
m
2
S
= (7.50
+0.19
0.20
) · 10
5
eV
2
, tan
2
θ
12
= 0.452
+0.035
0.032
(10)
3
Page 3
For the parameter sin
2
θ
13
was found
sin
2
θ
13
= 0.020
+0.016
0.018
(11)
At present four neutrino-oscillation parameters (∆m
2
S
, m
2
A
, sin
2
2θ
23
and
tan
2
θ
12
) are known with accuracies within the (3-10 )% range. In the accel-
erator neutrino oscillation experiment T2K [12] the parameter m
2
A
will be
measured with an accuracy of δm
2
A
< 10
4
eV
2
and the parameter sin
2
2θ
23
will be measured with an accuracy of δ(sin
2
2θ
23
) 10
2
. One o f the major
aims of this experiment and the reactor experiments DOUBLE CHOOZ[13],
RENO [14], and Daya Bay [15] is to determine the value (or to improve the
upper bound by one order of magnitude or better) of the parameter sin
2
θ
13
.
In case t hat this parameter is relatively lar ge, it is envisaged tha t in future
neutrino experiments the value of the CP phase δ will be determined and
the problem of the neutrino mass spectrum will be resolved ( see [12]).
Thus, we are entering into the era of high precision neutrino oscillation
exp eriments. Despite that the neutrino oscillation formalism, on which the
analysis of experimental data is based, has been developed and debated in
many papers starting fro m the 1970s (see reviews [16, 1 7]), these debates
and discussions are continuing (see recent papers [1 8]). From our point of
view the importa nce of uncertainty relations was not sufficiently analyzed in
previous discussions. We will show here that the phenomenon of neutrino
oscillations is heavily based on the Heisenberg uncertainty relation and the
Mandelstam-Tamm time-energy uncertainty relat ion. We briefly consider dif-
ferent approaches to neutrino oscillations and discuss a ossbauer neutrino
exp eriment which could allow to distinguish them.
2 Flavor neutrinos: production, evolution,
detection
Which neutrino states are pr oduced in CC weak processes together with
charg ed leptons in the case of neutrino mixing, eq.(1): Neutrino flavor states,
coherent superpositions of plane waves, or superpositions of wave packets?
Here we will present arguments based on t he QFT, the Heisenberg uncer-
tainty r elat ion and the knowledge of the neutrino mass-squared differences
that ”mixed” flavor states which describe the flavor neutrinos ν
e
, ν
µ
and ν
τ
are physical states (fully analogous to the ”mixed” states which describe K
0
and
¯
K
0
, B
0
and
¯
B
0
, etc.).
4
Page 4
Let us consider (in the lab. system) the decay [19]
a b + l
+
+ ν
i
, (i = 1, 2, 3) (12)
where a and b are some hadr ons.
The state of the final particles is given by
|fi =
X
i
|ν
i
i|l
+
i|b ihν
i
l
+
b|S|ai, (13)
where hν
i
l
+
b|S|ai is the matrix element of the transition a b + l
+
+ ν
i
,
|ν
i
i is the state of a neutrino with mass m
i
, momentum ~p
i
= p
i
~
k (
~
k is the
unit vector) and helicity equal to -1. We assume, as usual, that initial and
final particles have definite momenta.
Because neutrino masses are small, we can use the expansion
p
i
=
q
E
2
i
m
2
i
E
m
2
i
2E
, (14)
where E is the energy of neutrinos for m
2
i
0. For the difference of neutrino
momenta we have
|p
i
p
k
|
|m
2
ki
|
2E
=
2π
L
r
osc
, (15)
where
L
r
osc
= 4π
E
m
2
r
2.48
(E/MeV)
(∆m
2
r
c
4
/eV
2
)
m, r = A, S (16)
is the oscillation length. For E 1 GeV and m
2
A
2.4 · 10
3
eV
2
(atmo-
spheric and LBL accelerator neutrinos) we have L
A
osc
10
3
km. For E 3
MeV and m
2
S
7.5 · 10
5
eV
2
(reactor antineutrinos) we have L
S
osc
10
2
km.
On the other side, from the Heisenberg uncertainty relation we have
(∆p)
QM
1
d
. (17)
Here d characterizes the quantum-mechanical size of the source. Taking into
account tha t
L
A,S
osc
d (18)
we have
|p
i
p
k
| (∆p)
QM
. (19)
5
Page 5
Thus, we conclude that due to the uncertainty relat ion it is impossible to
resolve the emission of neutrinos with different masses.
1
The operator
X
k
U
lk
¯ν
kL
(x)γ
α
l
L
(x) (20)
determines the leptonic part of the matrix element of t he process (12). We
have
U
li
¯u
L
(p
i
)γ
α
u
L
(p
l
) U
li
¯u
L
(p)γ
α
u
L
(p
l
), (21)
where p
l
is the momentum o f l
+
, and p = E is t he momentum of the neutrino
for m
2
i
0. For the total matrix element of the process (12) we have
hν
i
l
+
b|S|ai U
li
hν
l
l
+
b|S|ai
SM
, (22)
where hν
l
l
+
b|S|ai
SM
is the Standard Model matrix element of the emission
of the flavor neutrino ν
l
with the momentum p in t he process
a b + l
+
+ ν
l
. (23)
From (13) and ( 22) we find
|fi = |ν
l
i|l
+
i|b ihν
l
l
+
b|S|ai
SM
, (24)
where the state of the flavor neutrino ν
l
is given by the relation
|ν
l
i =
X
i
U
li
|ν
i
i (l = e, µ, τ) (25)
and |ν
i
i is the state of a neutrino with mass m
i
, negative helicity and mo-
mentum p.
2
Let us stress that
F lavor neutrino states do not depend on the production process.
1
For the energy of a neutrino with mass m
i
we have E
i
E(1 +
m
2
i
2E
2
). In neutrino
oscillation experiments E & 1 MeV and
m
2
i
2E
2
. 10
12
. Thus , it is impossible to re solve
different neutrino energies in production (and de tection) processes.
2
Let us notice that the theory of the evolution of neutrinos in matter and the MSW
effect [20, 21] are based on the assumption that a flavor neutrino state is a state with
definite momentum.
6
Page 6
F lavor states are characterized by the momentum (if there ar e no spe-
cial conditions of neutrino production).
F lavor states are orthogonal a nd no rmalized
hν
l
|ν
l
i = δ
l
l
. (26)
The evolution of states in QFT is given by the Schr¨odinger equation
i
|Ψ(t)i
t
= H |Ψ(t)i, (27)
where H is the total Hamiltonian and time t is a para meter bot h of which
chara cterize the evolution of the system.
If at t = 0 in a CC weak process ν
l
is produced, we have for the state of
the neutrino at the time t
|ν
l
i
t
= e
iHt
|ν
l
i =
X
i
|ν
i
ie
iE
i
t
U
li
, (28)
where
H|ν
i
i = E
i
|ν
i
i, E
i
E +
m
2
i
2E
. (29)
Neutrinos are detected via the observation of weak CC and NC processes.
Let us consider the production of a lepton l
in the CC process
ν
i
+ N l
+ X. (30)
Taking into account that effects of neutrino masses can not be resolved in
neutrino processes we have
hl
X|S|ν
i
Ni hl
X|S|ν
l
Ni
SM
U
l
i
, (31)
where hl
X|S|ν
l
Ni
SM
is the SM matrix element of the process
ν
l
+ N l
+ X. (32)
From (24), (28) and (31) follows that the chain of processes a b + l
+
+
ν
l
, ν
l
ν
l
, ν
l
+ N l
+ X corresponds to the following factorized
product of amplitudes
hl
X|S|ν
l
Ni
SM
X
i
U
l
i
e
iE
i
t
U
li
!
hb l
+
ν
l
|S|ai
SM
. (33)
7
Page 7
Only the amplitude of the transition ν
l
ν
l
A(ν
l
ν
l
) =
X
i
U
l
i
e
iE
i
t
U
li
(34)
depends on the properties of massive neutrinos (mass-squared differences
and mixing angles). The matrix elements of the neutrino production and
detection are given by the Standard Model expressions in which effects of
neutrino masses can safely be neglected. Let us stress that the property of
the fa cto rization (33) is based on the smallness of the neutrino masses and
on the Heisenberg uncertainty relation.
3 Mandelstam-Tamm uncertainty relation
and neutrino oscillations
All uncertainty relations in Quantum Theory ar e based on the inequality
A B
1
2
|ha|[A, B]|ai| (35)
which follows from the Cauchy inequality. In (35) A and B are hermitian
operators, |ai is any state, A =
q
ha|(A A)
2
|ai is the standard deviation
and A = ha|A|ai is the average value of the operator A. For example, for
operators of momentum p and coordinate q which satisfy the commutation
relation [p, q] =
1
i
we have the Heisenberg uncertainty relation p q
1
2
.
The Mandelstam-Ta mm time-energy uncertainty relation [22] is based on
the inequality (35) and the equation
i
O(t)
t
= [O(t), H] (36)
for any operator O(t) in the Heisenberg representation (H is the to tal Hamil-
tonian).
From (35) and (36) we have
E O(t)
1
2
|
d
dt
O(t)| (37)
This inequality gives nontrivial constraints only in the case of non-stationary
states.
8
Page 8
Taking into account that E does not depend on t we find
E t
1
2
|O(∆t) O(0)|
O(
¯
t)
(38)
For the time interval t during which the state of the system is significantly
changed (
O(t) is changed by the value which is characterized by the standard
deviation) t he right-hand part of (38) is of the order of one. We obtain the
Mandelstam-Tamm t ime-energy uncertainty relation
E t & 1. (39)
From (34), f or the normalized probability of the transition ν
l
ν
l
we
obtain the expression
P (ν
l
ν
l
) = |
X
i6=j
U
l
i
(e
i(E
i
E
j
)t
1) U
li
+ δ
l
l
|
2
, (40)
which obviously gives the standard transition probability (3).
From (40) follows that neutrino oscillations can be observed if the condi-
tion
|E
i
E
j
| t & 1 (41)
is satisfied.
3
It is obvious that this inequality is the Mandelstam-Tamm
time-energy uncertainty relatio n. According to this relation a change of
the flavo r neutrino state in time requires energy uncertainty (i.e., a non-
stationary state). The time interval required for a significant change of the
flavor neutrino state is given by t
1
|E
i
E
j
|
=
2E
|m
2
ji
|
.
4
4 On plane wave and wave packet approaches
to neutrino oscillations
We will now briefly discuss other approaches to neutrino oscillations. In the
approach based on the relativistic quantum mechanics, in CC pro cesses to-
gether with charged leptons coherent superpositions of plane waves are
3
This is a necessary condition fo r the o bservation of oscillations. It is also necessary
that mixing angles would be relatively large.
4
Let us notice that the inequality (41) can be interpreted in a nother way: In order
to reveal a small energy difference |E
i
E
j
|
|m
2
ji
|
2E
we need a large time interval
t &
1
|E
i
E
j
|
. This corresponds to another interpretation of the time-energy uncertainty
relation (see [23]).
9
Page 9
produced and absorbed. In this case, for the normalized ν
l
ν
l
transition
probability the fo llowing expression can be obtained (see, for example[24, 25])
P (ν
l
ν
l
) = |
X
i
U
l
i
e
ip
i
·x
U
li
|
2
= |
X
i6=j
U
l
i
(e
i(p
i
p
j
)·x
1)U
li
+ δ
l
l
|
2
. (42)
Here p
i
= (E
i
, ~p
i
) is the 4-momentum of a neutrino with mass m
i
and x =
(t, ~x).
Let us assume that ~p
i
= p
i
~
k, where
~
k is the unit vector. For the phase
difference which is gained by a plain wave at the distance x = (~x
~
k) = L after
the time interval t we have
(p
i
p
j
) · x = (E
i
E
j
)t (p
i
p
j
)L. (43)
For ultrarelativistic neutrinos we have
t L. (44)
Taking into account that E
i
p
i
+
m
2
i
2E
, from (43) and (44) we come to the
standard oscillation phase
(p
i
p
j
) · x =
m
2
ji
2E
L (45)
and the standard expression (4) for the transition probability.
Let us stress that in the approach based on the QFT Schr¨odinger equation
the small oscillation phase difference is the result of the cancellation of large
terms in the expressions for the neutrino energies. The cancellation takes
place because neutrino states are characterized by definite momentum. In
the QM plane wave approach, small oscillation phases are the result of the
cancellation of large terms in the time and space parts of the phase difference.
The cancellation is due to the relation (44).
A direct generalization of the QM plane wave approach is the wave
packet approach (see [25] and references therein) in which the plane wave
transition probability (42) is changed to
P (ν
l
ν
l
) = |
X
i
U
l
i
Z
e
i(~p
i
~xE
i
t)
f(~p
i
~p
i
) d
3
p
U
li
|
2
, (46)
where E
i
=
p
(~p
i
)
2
+ m
2
i
and the function f(~p
i
~p
i
) has a sharp maximum
at the point ~p
i
= ~p
i
.
10
Page 10
Expanding E
i
at the point ~p
i
= ~p
i
we find
Z
e
i(~p
i
~xE
i
t)
f(~p
i
~p
i
) d
3
p
= e
i(~p
i
~xE
i
t)
g(~x
~
v
i
t), (47)
where
g(~x ~v
i
t) =
Z
e
i~q (~x~v
i
t)
f(~q) d
3
q (48)
and
~v
i
=
~p
i
E
i
, E
i
=
q
~p
i
2
+ m
2
i
. (49)
If we make the standard assumption that the function f(~q) has the Gaussian
form
f(~q) = N e
q
2
4σ
2
p
, (50)
(σ
p
is the width of the wave packet in the momentum space) we find
g(~x ~v
i
t) = N(
π
σ
2
x
)
3/2
e
(~x~v
i
t)
2
4σ
2
x
, (51)
where σ
x
=
1
2σ
p
chara cterizes the spacial width of the wave packet.
The probability o f the transition ν
l
ν
l
in the wave packet approach
is determined as a quantity integrated over time. From (47) we find the
following expression for the integrated normalized transition probability
P(ν
l
ν
l
) =
X
i,k
U
l
i
U
l
k
e
i[(p
i
p
k
)(E
i
E
k
)]L
U
li
U
lk
e
(
L
L
ik
coh
)
2
e
2π
2
ξ
2
(
σ
x
L
ik
osc
)
2
.
(52)
Here L is the distance between neutrino source and neutrino detector, L
ik
osc
is the oscillation length, ξ is a constant o f the order of one and
L
ik
coh
=
4
2σ
x
E
2
|m
2
ik
|
. (53)
is the coherence length.
5
Taking into account that (p
i
p
k
) (E
i
E
k
) =
m
2
ki
2E
we come to the conclusion that the ν
l
ν
l
transition probability in
5
We have |v
i
v
k
|L
ik
coh
|m
2
ik
|
2E
2
L
ik
coh
2
2σ
x
. Thus, the coherence length is such
a distance between neutrino source and de tec tor at which ν
i
and ν
k
are separated by an
interval compa rable to the size of the wave packet.
11
Page 11
the wave packet approa ch is given by the standard expression (3) which is
multiplied by the decoherence factor e
(
L
L
ik
coh
)
2
and the factor e
2π
2
ξ
2
(
σ
x
L
ik
osc
)
2
.
Thus, the wave packet approach (after integration over t) assures the
equality t = L and the standard oscillation phase in the transition probability.
For usual neutrino oscillation experiments with L being a few times L
A,S
osc
, t he
two additional exponential factors are practically equal to one.
In many papers (see [1 8]), neutrinos pro pagating about 100 km (reactor
¯ν’s ) or about 1000 km (atmospheric and accelerator ν’s ), are considered
as virtual particles in a Feynman diagram- like picture with the neutrino
production process at one vertex and the neutrino absorption process in
another vertex. This approach gives the wave packet picture of neutrino
oscillations with a transition probability which (befo r e integration over t)
depends on x and t.
The major difference between different approaches to neutrino oscillations
can be summarized as follows:
1. The QF T approach with the Schr¨odinger evolution equation is based
on the assumption of the existence of ”mixed” flavor neutrinos ν
e
, ν
µ
, ν
τ
which are described by coherent states | ν
l
i =
P
i
U
li
|ν
i
i. The import ant
chara cteristic feature of this approach is the Mandelstam-Tamm time-
energy uncertainty relation. Neutrino oscillations can take place only
in the case of non-stationary neutrino states with Et & 1, where
t is the time int erval during which the oscillations happen. The QFT
approach is based o n the same general principles as the approach to
K
0
¯
K
0
, B
0
¯
B
0
, etc. oscillations studied in detail at B- factories
and other facilities.
2. O t her approaches are based on the assumption that in weak processes,
mixed coherent superpositions of plane waves or wave packets describ-
ing neutrinos with different masses, are produced and detected. The
evolution o f mixed neutrino wave functions in space and time is de-
termined by the Dirac equation. There is no notion of flavor neutrino
states in these approaches. Neutrino o scillations are possible also in
the case of monochromatic neutrinos.
Different approaches to neutrino oscillations lead to the same expression for
the neutrino transition probability P(ν
l
ν
l
) in the standard neutrino
oscillation experiments. In order to distinguish 1. and 2. special neutrino
12
Page 12
oscillation experiments are necessary. Such experiments could be ossbauer
neutrino experiments which we will discuss in the next sections.
5 ossbauer ¯ν
e
: Basic considerations
The basic concept is to use electron antineutrinos (¯ν
e
) which are emitted
without recoil in a bound-state β-decay and are resonantly captured again
without recoil in the reverse bound-state process. As an example, let us
consider the
3
H -
3
He system [26] with the transitions
3
H
3
He +¯ν
e
(source) and ¯ν
e
+
3
He
3
H (ta rget).
In the source, the electron (e
) is emitted directly into a bound-state
atomic orbit of
3
He. This decay is a two-body process, t hus the emitted ¯ν
e
has a fixed energy (18.6 keV). In the targ et t he reverse process occurs, a
monochromatic ¯ν
e
with an energy of 18.6 keV and an e
in an atomic orbit
of
3
He are absorbed to form
3
H.
To suppress thermal motions of the
3
H and
3
He atoms, they have to be
imbedded in a solid-state lattice, e.g., in Nb metal [27]. In addition, for a
ossbauer ¯ν
e
exp eriment it is mandatory that no phonons are excited in
the lattice when the ¯ν
e
is emitted or absorbed, because o nly then a highly
monochromatic ¯ν
e
radiation and the la rge cross section of the ossbauer
resonance of typically 10
19
to 10
17
cm
2
can be achieved. However, it be-
came apparent [28],[29],[30],[31] that there exist several basic difficulties to
observe ossbauer ¯ν
e
with the system
3
H -
3
He in Nb metal. The main
problem originates from lattice expansion and contraction processes. They
occur when the nuclear transformations (from
3
H to
3
He and fro m
3
He to
3
H) take place during which the ¯ν
e
is emitted or absorbed and can cause
lattice excitations (pho nons) which change the ¯ν
e
energy and thus destroy
the ossbauer resonance. It has been estimated that due t o these lattice ex-
citations the probability for phononless emission and consecutive phononless
capture of ¯ν
e
is 7 · 10
8
which ma kes a real experiment with the
3
H -
3
He
system extremely difficult [28],[29],[30],[31]. Another basic problem is caused
by inhomogeneities in an imperfect lattice which directly influence the energy
of the ¯ν
e
[28].
A promising alternative is the ra re-earth system
163
Ho -
163
Dy. It offers
several advantages: Due to the highly similar chemical behaviour of the
rare earths also the lattice deformation energies for
163
Ho and
163
Dy can be
exp ected to be similar, thus leaving the ¯ν
e
energy practically unchanged.
13
Page 13
In addition, the ¯ν
e
energy is very low (2.6 keV), i.e., the recoil origina t ing
from the emitted (absorbed) ¯ν
e
is highly unlikely to generate phonons in the
lattice. Altogether, the probability of phononless emission and absorption
could be larger than for the
3
H -
3
He system by 7 orders of magnitude.
Furthermore, due to the similar chemical behaviour, the
163
Ho -
163
Dy system
can also be expected to be less sensitive to variat ions of the binding energies
in the lattice. For this reason, variations of the ¯ν
e
energy will also be reduced
improving the monochromaticity ( linewidth) of the ¯ν
e
ossbauer resonance.
On the negative side, the magnetic moments of the 4f electrons of the
rare-earth atoms are large and might cause broadening of the ossbauer ¯ν
e
resonance [30],[31]. Fortunately, conventional ossbauer spectroscopy (with
photons) gathered a wealth of informat ion on the behaviour of rare-earth
systems in the past. Of particular interest is the 25.65 keV ossbauer r es-
onance in
161
Dy where an experimental linewidth of Γ
exp
5 · 10
8
eV has
been r eached [32],[3 0]. We will show in the following section that the
163
Ho
-
163
Dy system might be suitable to investigate the question concerning t he
different approaches to neutrino oscillations.
6 The
163
Ho -
163
Dy ossbauer system and
the evolution of the ¯ν
e
state in time
If the evolution of the ¯ν
e
state occurs in t ime only, ossbauer ¯ν
e
oscillations
with an oscillation length L
A
osc
determined by m
2
A
will not be observed if
the relative energy uncertainty fulfills the relation [33]
E
E
1
4
m
2
A
c
4
E
2
(54)
where m
2
A
2.4 · 10
3
eV
2
is the atmospheric mass-squared difference.
For the
163
Ho -
163
Dy system, eq. (54) requires
E
E
HoDy
9.2 · 10
11
or
E 2.4 · 10
7
eV.
For the 25.65 keV γ-transition in
161
Dy an experimental linewidth of
Γ
exp
5 ·1 0
8
eV has been observed [32], which is 5 times below the limit
E . 2.4 · 10
7
eV just mentioned. It might be expected that a similar
value f or Γ
exp
can be reached for the
163
Ho -
163
Dy system. In particular,
using the usual ossbauer γ-transition in
161
Dy, relevant physical properties,
e.g., the experimental linewidth in the Ho - Dy system can be investigated
14
Page 14
and improved if necessary. Thus it looks promising that the question if
ossbauer ¯ν
e
oscillate can be answered experimentally. For Γ
exp
5 · 10
8
eV, according to the Mandelstam-Ta mm time-energy uncertainty relation a
significant change of the ¯ν
e
state in time can occur only very slowly leading
to a long oscillation path-length L
change
since the ¯ν
e
is ultrarelativistic:
L
change
c ·
~
Γ
exp
· 2π. (55)
For the
163
Ho -
163
Dy system, L
change
25 m for the ¯ν
e
state.
In compar ison, for an evolution of t he ¯ν
e
state in space and time, the
oscillation length is given by eq. (16). With E = 2.6 keV for the
163
Ho -
163
Dy system, and m
2
A
2.4 · 10
3
eV
2
, we obtain L
A
osc
2.6 m, about 10
times shorter tha n L
change
. If the evolution occurs in time only, in such a
ossbauer-neutrino experiment with Γ
exp
5 · 10
8
eV, instead of L
A
osc
the
much longer L
change
would be observed.
If ossbauer ¯ν
e
oscillate, an interesting application would be the search
for the conversion to sterile neutrinos ¯ν
e
¯ν
sterile
[34] involving additional
mass eigenstates. Since ¯ν
sterile
does not show the weak interaction of the
Standard Model of elementa ry particle interactions, such a conversion would
have to be tested by the disappearance of ¯ν
e
. The results of the LSND
(Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector) experiment [6],[35] indicate a mass
splitting of m
2
1 eV
2
[27]. Unfo r tunately, several experiments performed
by the MiniBooNE collaboration to check the LSND results have not been
conclusive, although the MiniBoo NE results are compatible with t he LSND
observation [36]. For ossbauer ¯ν
e
of the
163
Ho -
163
Dy system (E= 2.6 keV)
the oscillation length L
A
osc
would be only 1 cm if m
2
1 eV
2
.
7 Conclusions
After the golden years of the discovery of neutrino o scillations in atmospheric,
solar a nd reactor neutrino exp eriments we now enter into the era of detailed
studies of this phenomenon. Measurements of the small mixing a ngle θ
13
, of
the CP phase δ, and the establishment of the character of the neutrino-mass
spectrum will require high-precision neutrino-oscillation experiments which
are already ongoing now or are under preparation or in the R&D stage.
Is there a consensus in the treatment and understanding of the neutrino
oscillation phenomenon? Many recent papers on the theory of neutrino os-
15
Page 15
cillations (see, for example, [18]) certify that such a consensus still does not
exist.
Is the notion of flavor neutrinos ν
e
, ν
µ
and ν
τ
in the case of neutrino mix-
ing a convenient terminology coming fr om ”the times of massless neutrinos”
or ar e they real physical states? From the momentum-coordinate Heisen-
berg uncertainty relation follows that due to the small values of the neutrino
mass-squared differences in weak processes ”mixed” flavor neutrinos ν
l
(sim-
ilar to the mixed” K
0
,
¯
K
0
; B
0
,
¯
B
0
; etc), which are described by coherent
superpositions of states of neutrinos with definite mass, are produced and
detected. We showed that in this approach for neutrino oscillations to be
observed the Mandelstam-Tamm time-energy uncertainty relation must be
satisfied. This means that neutrino oscillations can take place only in the
case of non-stationary neutrino states.
We compared different approaches to neutrino oscillations. In approaches
in which flavor neutrinos are described by coherent superpositions of plane
waves or wave packets and in the approach in which neutrinos are consid-
ered as virtual particles in a Feynman diagr am with the neutrino production
process at one vertex a nd t he neutrino absorption process in another vertex
neutrino oscillations are possible also in the case of monochromatic neutrinos
(M¨ossbauer neutrinos).
Usual neutrino oscillation experiments do not allow to distinguish these
different approaches. The realization of a n idea concerning the ossbauer
resonance neutrino experiment with practically monoenergetic ¯ν
e
could be
the way of probing the real nature of mixed flavor states, different con-
jectures on the evolution of such states and the universal applicability of
the time-energy uncertainty relation. Such an experiment was discussed for
the
3
H
3
He source-detector pair [27]. Recently, however, it was shown
that the performa nce of a ossbauer neutrino experiment in the case of t he
3
H
3
He system is most probably not possible in practice [28],[30],[31]. We
present here ar guments in favor of a ossbauer neutrino experiment with
the
163
Ho
163
Dy source-detector system [30]. The possibility to perform an
exp eriment in such a system looks promising but is still very challenging and
requires further investigations.
Acknowledgments
This work was supported by funds of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
DFG (Transregio 27: Neutrinos and Beyond), the Munich Cluster of Ex-
cellence (O rigin a nd Structure of the Universe), and the Maier-Leibnitz-
Laboratorium (Garching).
16
Page 16
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  • Source
    • "It follows from the Heisenberg uncertainty relation that this condition is satisfied in neutrino oscillation experiments with neutrino energies many orders of magnitude larger than neutrino masses. The possibility to resolve small neutrino mass-squared differences is based on the time-energy uncertainty relation (see [24]) ∆E ∆t 1. "
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    • "To this, Raghavan brought in the bold proposal of using Niobium tritide as the actual source of recoilless emission and absorption of the neutrinos. Raghavan's proposal lead to a couple of intense controversies, one on whether the Mössbauer effect could truly be realized using Niobium tritide [5, 20,22232425, and another on the interpretation of the Time-Energy uncertainty relation and its implications for the proposed experiments2627282930313233. At the same time, it generated a great deal of excitement and interest on the new kinds of experiments that would be made possible if Mössbauer neutrinos became a reality, and the types of physics it will allow us to probe34353637. "
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