Skip to main content

Theory and astrophysical applications of neutrino flavor evolution

Final Report Summary - NEUTRINO EVOLUTION (Theory and astrophysical applications of neutrino flavor evolution)

The project aimed mainly at exploring the possibilities of using astrophysical neutrino sources and environments to obtain information about neutrinos, the sources themselves, or other physical processes where neutrinos could probe the underlying physics. Because of a very low interaction rate, neutrinos provide a unique tool to probe the inner workings of dense astrophysical objects, such as stars, supernovae, active galactic nuclei, and the early Universe. However, for a correct interpretation of such signals, it is also imperative that the theoretical framework of neutrino physics is well understood. With the current experimental situation, where there are several anomalies that could indicate signals of new physics, theoretical exploration of the new physics sector is needed in order to sort out what types of physics that could be responsible for these signals.

Since the beginning of the project, the fellow has worked on several topics within neutrino physics with close connection to the astrophysical questions. The work includes theoretical and phenomenological studies including the development of theoretical techniques, and the developments of freely available software tools usable by other researchers.

The main results of the project include theoretical models for addressing several standing questions within the research area. In particular, the fellow has published a model for generating light asymmetric dark matter, which has become increasingly popular as a dark matter candidate during the last years. A freely available software developed by the fellow can be used in order to study the neutrino flavor evolution in models of new physics, where normally numerical approaches are complicated due to a large parameter space. This software has already been used by other researchers to produce publications. An extension of this software to increase the range of applicability is underway. Furthermore, several advances in the study of neutrinos from dark matter annihlations in the Sun have been made. In particular, the prospects of detecting an indirect signal at relatively small neutrino experiments were investigated. Remarkably, the possibility to find such a signal were not only good, but it was also shown to narrow down the dominating channel of dark matter annihilation, which would be invaluable in narrowing down the possible range of dark matter models.

The project has opened up new questions and has led to several works in progress that extend previous achievements. These works will be continued at the fellow's next appointment, a postdoctoral position at a different Max-Planck-Institute, which was largely awarded to the fellow due to the experience he collected during the course of he project.