12.091 Basics of Analysis with Antineutrinos from Heat Producing Elements - K, U, Th in the Earth

As taught in: January IAP 2010

Earth - an antineutrino star.

A star is a self luminous body. Earth is not self luminous in the visible radiation range. Antineutrinos generated by the negative beta decay of radioactive elements within the Earth, reach the surface of the Earth because of little interaction with terrestrial matter. Thus, the Earth star is emanating antineutrino radiation by itself, without any reference to the other celestial bodies. (Image by Dr. P. Ila and Dr. P. Jagam of NORM Group Organization. Used with permission.)




Dr. Ila Pillalamarri
(Dr. P. Ila)

Course Description

This course covers the following questions. What are the predominant heat producing elements of the Earth? Where and how much are they? Are they present in the core of the Earth? Detection of antineutrinos generated in the Earth provides: 1) information on the sources of the terrestrial heat, 2) direct test of the Bulk Silicate Earth (BSE) model and 3) testing of non-conventional models of Earth's core. Use of antineutrinos to probe the deep interior of our planet is becoming practical due to recent fundamental advances in the antineutrino detectors.