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Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology > Research > Neutrino Astrophysics

Neutrinos are weakly interacting particles playing a fundamental role in astrophysical environments. Because of their feeble interacting nature, neutrinos escape almost unimpeded from their sources hence being powerful messengers of extreme astrophysical sites not otherwise accessible. We aim at unveiling the nature of these puzzling elementary particles and at using neutrinos as probes of the engine behind the most energetic transients in our Universe.

Neutrinos are fascinating elementary particles. They vastly outnumber all other particles in our Universe, except photons. Neutrinos interact very weakly and exist in three distinct families or “flavors” which oscillate (convert) into each other by flavor mixing.

In addition to the Early Universe, neutrinos are copiously produced in a variety of astrophysical environments, ranging from stars like the Sun to the most extreme astrophysical transients such as core-collapse supernovae and neutron-star mergers. Many cosmic accelerators, such as gamma-ray bursts, starburst galaxies or active galactic nuclei, should also produce neutrinos. Owing to their weak interactions, neutrinos have the extraordinary ability to escape undisturbed from these cosmic sources and carry information on sites otherwise unreachable. Moreover, neutrinos and particles beyond the ones predicted within the Standard Model dramatically affect the dynamics of their sources and the synthesis of new elements.

We aim at addressing the following questions:

  • Which is the role of neutrinos and their interactions in neutrino-dense astrophysical environments, such as core-collapse supernovae and neutron-star mergers?
  • What is the impact of neutrino flavor conversions on the stellar dynamics and formation of elements in the Universe?
  • What are the experimentally detectable imprints of the source dynamics carried by neutrinos?
  • How can we learn about standard and non-standard properties of neutrinos through astrophysical sources?
  • How are neutrinos produced in cosmic accelerators, such as gamma-ray bursts? And what can we learn about the physics of these mysterious events?
  • What are the chances of detecting cosmic neutrinos with existing and upcoming neutrino telescopes?

Staff currently involved: Irene Tamborra (Associate Professor) - Meng-Ru Wu (Postdoc) - Peter Denton (Postdoc) - Veronica Sølund Kirsebom (MSc student) - Anna Suliga (MSc student) - Klaes Møller (MSc student)