"One of the main unknowns in Particle Physics is the mechanism behind masses and mixings in the neutrino sector. Consequently, it is natural to view neutrinos as a window to New Physics. Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) models explaining the masses and mixing parameters often predict new generation(s) of neutrinos and novel types of interactions with matter, known as Sterile Neutrinos (SN) and Non Standard Interactions (NSI) respectively. The objective of this proposal is to experimentally test those predictions, thereby elucidating the fundamental nature of neutrinos. In fact, by measuring and characterising the flux of atmospheric neutrinos, neutrino telescopes can experimentally constrain SN and NSI models, and hence Unifying Neutrino Observatories Searches (UNOS) is a unique project that aims to search for those BSM candidates.
Neutrinos are distinctive particles as they interact very weakly, so they can transit long paths through the Earth. Cosmic-ray-induced air showers produce those particles in the atmosphere over a wide energy range, providing a ""naturally"" occurring flux that cannot be produced in any man-made neutrino beam. Actually, in 2015, the discovery of neutrino oscillations studying atmospheric (and solar) neutrinos, was awarded Nobel Prize in Physics.
Neutrino telescopes consist of a grid of optical sensors placed several kilometres under water or ice. Neutrinos are detected by capturing the Cherenkov light induced by the charged particles produced by neutrino interactions in the medium. UNOS will exploit four of those detectors constructed by two international collaborations, IceCube and KM3NeT, to provide world-leading constraints on SN and NSI models. Harvard University and Universitat de Valencia will join efforts to support and train Dr. Garcia throughout this ambitious enterprise."
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