U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Neutrino Beams


Northern Illinois University and UT-Battelle

Course Name:

Neutrino Beams


Bob Zwaska and Laura Fields, Fermilab

Purpose and Audience
The purpose of this graduate-level course is to introduce the students to accelerator-produced beams of neutrinos for high-energy physics experiments.  The course is suitable for graduate students, senior undergraduate students or students from other fields with an interest in neutrino beams.  The course is also appropriate for engineers and senior technicians working with neutrino beams who wish to broaden their background.

Senior undergraduate-level courses in physics that include classical mechanics, electromagnetism, special relativity, and calculus. Basic knowledge of accelerators at the level of the USPAS course “Fundamentals of Accelerator Physics and Technology with Simulation and Measurement Lab” and undergraduate, senior-level nuclear/particle physics is desirable.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.

Upon completion of this course, the students are expected to understand the basic principles involved in the production and measurement of neutrino beams from accelerators. They will become familiar with the physical process involved in each step of the production of secondary beams, focusing, decay into neutrinos, and elementary measurement techniques.  In addition, they will be introduced to the individual devices used in these beams (windows, targets, horns, etc.), and the practical limits of modern, high-power neutrino beams.

Instructional Method
This course includes a series of lectures, exercise sessions, and computer exercises.  Homework problems will be assigned daily which will be graded and answers provided in the exercise session the following day. A set of computer exercises for modeling the production of secondary neutrino beams will be performed.  There will be an in-class, open-book final exam at the conclusion of the course.

Course Content

Neutrino beams are one of the contemporary tools of modern high-energy physics.  These beams have been used to study the interior of atomic nuclei, fundamental forces, neutrino oscillations, and other properties of the neutrino.  Several major projects world-wide have been devoted to the production of neutrino beams over the next few decades.  This course will review and examine in detail the techniques and devices to produce neutrinos. The following topics will be covered:

  • History of neutrino beams
  • Accelerator inputs for the production of neutrino beams
  • Neutrino-production targets (hadroproduction, scattering)
  • Focusing horns (electrodynamics, particle trajectories)
  • Pion decay kinematics
  • Three-body decay kinematics
  • Off-axis beams
  • Instrumentation & controls (machine protection)
  • Beam calculation (Monte Carlo, extrapolation, systematics)
  • Radiation protection (shielding, radioactivation, management)
  • Materials for neutrino beam devices (radiation damage, corrosion, compatibility)
  • Facility issues (radiation induced remote handling, storage)
  • Exotic beam production methods
  • Neutrino science & experiments

Topics such as energy deposition, radiation damage, strength of materials, mechanical forces, and device fabrication will be covered in a related 1st week USPAS class on “High-Power Targets.”  This course on neutrino beams will be self-contained, and not require attendance of the Targets course, though they will be complementary. 

Reading Requirements
(to be provided by the USPAS) "Introduction to Elementary Particles" by David Griffiths, 2nd Edition, Wiley-VCH (2008).

“The NuMI Neutrino Beam”, P. Adamson et al., arXiv:1507.06690 [physics.acc-ph] https://arxiv.org/abs/1507.06690

Additional handouts with supplementary material will be provided by the course instructor

Suggested Reading
“Neutrino facility and neutrino physics in J-PARC”, T. Sekiguchi, PTEP 2012 (2012) 02B005, http://inspirehep.net/record/1218487/

“Accelerator Neutrino Beams”, S. Kopp, Phys.Rept.439:101-159,2007, https://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0609129

“The Review of Particle Physics” C. Patrignani et al. (Particle Data Group), Chin. Phys. C, 40, 100001 (2016). a.k.a. “The Particle Data Book” http://pdg.lbl.gov/

Credit Requirements
Students' final grades will be evaluated based on: Final exam (40%), Homework assignments and class participation (40%), Computer Assignment (20%).

Northern Illinois University course number: PHYSICS 790D - Special Topics in Physics - Beam Physics
Indiana University course number: Physics 671, Advanced Topics in Accelerator Physics
Michigan State University course number: PHY 963, "U.S. Particle Accelerator School"
MIT course number: 8.790, "Accelerator Physics"