Two different nuclear-medium effects are isolated using a low three-momentum transfer subsample of neutrino-carbon scattering data from the MINERvA neutrino experiment. The observed hadronic energy in charged-current νμ interactions is combined with muon kinematics to permit separation of the quasielastic and Δ(1232) resonance processes. First, we observe a small cross section at very low energy transfer that matches the expected screening effect of long-range nucleon correlations. Second, additions to the event rate in the kinematic region between the quasielastic and Δ resonance processes are needed to describe the data. The data in this kinematic region also have an enhanced population of multiproton final states. Contributions predicted for scattering from a nucleon pair have both properties; the model tested in this analysis is a significant improvement but does not fully describe the data. We present the results as a double-differential cross section to enable further investigation of nuclear models. Improved description of the effects of the nuclear environment are required by current and future neutrino oscillation experiments.
The first direct measurement of electron neutrino quasielastic and quasielasticlike scattering on hydrocarbon in the few-GeV region of incident neutrino energy has been carried out using the MINERvA detector in the NuMI beam at Fermilab. The flux-integrated differential cross sections in the electron production angle, electron energy, and Q2 are presented. The ratio of the quasielastic, flux-integrated differential cross section in Q2 for νe with that of similarly selected νμ-induced events from the same exposure is used to probe assumptions that underpin conventional treatments of charged-current νe interactions used by long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiments. The data are found to be consistent with lepton universality and are well described by the predictions of the neutrino event generator GENIE.
Production of K+ mesons in charged-current νμ interactions on plastic scintillator (CH) is measured using MINERvA exposed to the low-energy NuMI beam at Fermilab. Timing information is used to isolate a sample of 885 charged-current events containing a stopping K+ which decays at rest. The differential cross section in K+ kinetic energy, dσ/dTK, is observed to be relatively flat between 0 and 500 MeV. Its shape is in good agreement with the prediction by the genie neutrino event generator when final-state interactions are included, however the data rate is lower than the prediction by 15%.
The MINERvA Collaboration reports a novel study of neutrino-nucleus charged-current deep inelastic scattering (DIS) using the same neutrino beam incident on targets of polystyrene, graphite, iron, and lead. Results are presented as ratios of C, Fe, and Pb to CH. The ratios of total DIS cross sections as a function of neutrino energy and flux-integrated differential cross sections as a function of the Bjorken scaling variable x are presented in the neutrino-energy range of 5–50 GeV. Based on the predictions of charged-lepton scattering ratios, good agreement is found between the data and prediction at medium x and low neutrino energy. However, the ratios appear to be below predictions in the vicinity of the nuclear shadowing region, x<0.1. This apparent deficit, reflected in the DIS cross-section ratio at high Eν, is consistent with previous MINERvA observations [B. Tice (MINERvA Collaboration), Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 231801 (2014).] and with the predicted onset of nuclear shadowing with the axial-vector current in neutrino scattering.
Single neutral pion production via muon antineutrino charged-current interactions in plastic scintillator (CH) is studied using the MINERvA detector exposed to the NuMI low-energy, wideband antineutrino beam at Fermilab. Measurement of this process constrains models of neutral pion production in nuclei, which is important because the neutral-current analog is a background for ν¯e appearance oscillation experiments. The differential cross sections for π0 momentum and production angle, for events with a single observed π0 and no charged pions, are presented and compared to model predictions. These results comprise the first measurement of the π0 kinematics for this process.