For All Defence Aspirants India -Based Neutrino Observatory
India –based neutrino observatory
Why in news?
Recently, the national green tribunal (NGT) upheld the environmental clearance granted to the india –based neutrino observatory (INO), a major research facility proposed In theni district of tamil nadu.
In 2015 the government of India had approved the INO project. What are neutrinos?
Neutrinos are tiny, neutral elementary particles which interact with matter via the weak force. The sun and all other stars produce neutrinos copiously due to nuclear fusion and decay processes within their core.
There are three forms of neutrinos viz. electron neutrino,tau neutrino and muon neutrino.
Neutrinos come from the sun (solar neutrinos) and other stars, cosmic rays that come from beyond the solar system,and from the big bang from which our universe originated. They can also be produced in the lab.
Neutrinos can change from one flavor to another as they travel. This process is called neutrino oscillation and is an unusual quantum phenomenon.
India –based neutrino observatory (INO) it is a multi institutional effort aimed at building a world class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approx. 1200m for nonaccelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in india. The INO will study atmospheric neutrinos only.
The project includes
Construction of an underground laboratory and associated surface facilities at pottipuram bodi west hills of theni district of Tamil nadu.
Construction of an iron calorimeter (ICAL) detector for studying neutrinos, consisting of 50,000 tons of magnetized iron plates.
Setting up of national centre for high energy physics at Madurai ,for the operation and maintenance of the underground laboratory, human resource development and detector R & Delong with its applications.
Why the need for an underground detector?
Neutrinos interact very weakly with the surroundings since they interact so weakly, detecting them over other interactions is impossible. Thus there is a need to have a barrier of at least 1 km of the earth to block out other radiation and particles ,such as muons from cosmic rays.
We have hit by a stream of neutrinos every moment without leaving a trace.
Why is the INO located in the south?
Most of the neutrino detectors are at latitudes over 35’,it is possible to push such a detector down to almost 8’ latitude in south India ,within proximity to the equator. This permits neutrino astronomy searches covering the whole celestial sky and study of solar neutrinos passing through the earth’s core.
Why were there opposition to the observatory?
Locals fear that the excavation and blasts needed to bore the tunnel in the mountains will endanger the bo diversity of the western ghats.some of the concerns voiced range from radiation ,structural damage to the mountain to emission of hazardous chemicals.
Significance of the project
Neutrinos can give us information about the interior of the sun, thereby helping us understand what goes on inside the sun.
If the properties of neutrinos are understood better, they can be used in astronomy to discover what the universe is made up of as neutrinos are by far the most numerous of all the particles in the universe (other than photons of light).