The discovery of neutrino oscillations invites many fundamental physics questions that have yet to be answered. Two of these questions are simple, easy to state, and essential: What are the values of the neutrino masses? Are neutrinos Majorana fermions? The reason we do not know the answer to those questions is that it is difficult to measure neutrino properties outside of the ultrarelativistic regime. We discuss the physics of eγ→eνν. near threshold, where one has access to nonrelativistic neutrinos and only nonrelativistic neutrinos. Near threshold, eγ→eνν. is a rich phenomenon and its cross section is sensitive to the individual values of the neutrino masses and the nature of the neutrinos. We show that if one could scan the threshold region, it would be simple to identify the mass of the lightest neutrino, the neutrino mass ordering, and whether the neutrinos are Majorana fermions. In practice, however, event rates are tiny and backgrounds are huge; the observation of eγ→eνν. in the sub-eV regime appears to be utterly inaccessible in the laboratory. Our results, nonetheless, effectively illustrate the discriminatory power of nonrelativistic neutrino observables.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)