Particle Physics Group




The MINOS/MINOS+ Experiment

The MINOS Near Detector at Fermilab, Chicago

A Two Detector Experiment

The Near Detector (ND) measures the neutrino energy spectrum and is located 1 km from the production target at Fermilab. The Far Detector (FD), again measures the energy spectrum 734 km further away at Soudan Underground Laboratory, in northern Minnesota. Both detectors are tracking, sampling calorimeters consisting of alternate planes of steel and scintillator strips. Constructed with a similar design to allows uncertainties a affecting both detectors in similar ways to cancel out to first order, such as cross section and flux uncertainties.

MINOS/MINOS+ is a two-detector on-axis long-baseline neutrino experiment based at Fermilab. The experiment samples the NuMI energy beam, produced by 120 GeV protons incident on a segmented graphite target. The beam is mainly made of muon neutrinos at the start of their journey, but as they traverse through time and space a certain fraction have transformed into electron and tau neutrinos. This transformation is called "neutrino oscillations" and only possible if neutrinos have mass. MINOS was the first long baseline experiment, who made precision measurements of the parameters governing this transition.


The NuMI beamline that delivers neutrinos for MINOS (and other experiments) is now reconfigured to provide a more intense higher energy neutrino beam for the NOvA experiment which started data taking from September 2013.

The plot on the right shows how the MINOS and MINOS+ experiment see a different neutrino flux at the far detector .The MINOS detectors are approved to continue running in this beam configuration as the MINOS+ experiment. With such a wide band neutrino beam MINOS+ becomes sensitive to exotic physics searches such as sterile neutrinos and large extra dimensions.

Manchester is leading the search for sterile neutrinos at MINOS/MINOS+. Sterile neutrinos have not been detected, they are theorised to try to explain the several anomalous results in the short baseline neutrino community.

Sterile neutrinos do not interact through the strong, EM and weak forces and so their existence can only be inferred through neutrino oscillations with the three active neutrinos we currently know about.

Manchester leads the analyses for the search of sterile neutrinos using the previous 6 years of MINOS data as well as including the MINOS+ data providing unprecedented statistics at higher energies.

By looking at muon neutrino disappearance, electron neutrino appearance and atmospheric neutrinos interacting with the detectors MINOS measured the worlds most precise measurement of the atmospheric mass splitting (assuming no sterile neutrinos).

By combining the MINOS disappearance results with a reactor experiment such as Bugey a competitive limit on sterile neutrinos can be set in the same parameter space as LSND and MiniBooNE which may suggest new physics (sterile neutrinos?) in their appearance data.

Manchester People Working on MINOS

Justin Evans

Ashley Timmons  

Rui Chen

Other Useful Links

Physics Plots

Official MINOS home page here

Proposal to run MINOS in the medium enegy configuration (MINOS+) here


Last modified Wed 10 June 2015 . View page history
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