Λ Baryon Production in νμ Interactions in the MicroBooNE Detector

Thorpe, Chris and Nowak, Jaroslaw (2023) Λ Baryon Production in νμ Interactions in the MicroBooNE Detector. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Abstract

The Cabibbo suppressed production of Λ baryons in anti-neutrino interactions with nuclei is a rare process that is yet to be measured with a modern neutrino detector with automated reconstruction. The cross section for this process is sensitive to a number of unique nuclear effects, most notably the secondary interactions of the produced hyperon while attempting to escape from the nucleus. Other interactions within the nuclear remnant can impact the estimation of neutrino energy in oscillation measurements, and thus an accurate description of the nuclear environment is required. The strangeness violating hyperon production process is only available to anti-neutrinos. The model of this interaction is implemented into the NuWro neutrino interaction Monte Carlo simulation, and some predictions are presented, focusing on the role of nuclear effects. This model introduces a hyperon-nucleus potential, which calculations from hypernuclear theory permit to be strongly repulsive in the case of Σ baryons. The presence of this potential is found to sculpt the shape of the differential cross section in some variables. The MicroBooNE detector will be described, followed by a description of a measurement of the flux averaged, restricted phase space cross section of Cabibbo suppressed Λ baryon production. A sophisticated event selection is employed, as a very large quantity of background neutrino interactions must be removed to perform the measurement with any sensitivity. This selection introduces some novel techniques such as the island finding method, and achieves a background reduction of ~106, with an efficiency of around 7%. The calculation of the systematic uncertainties will be explained, including two procedures explored to handle sources of background with extremely poor simulation statistics: an in- situ constraint using data from sidebands, and a visual inspection of the data and simulation to remove the troublesome background events. The sensitivity to the Λ baryon production cross section is calculated in the form of Bayesian posterior probability distributions, combining the systematic uncertainties with data and simulation statistical uncertainties. As a rare process, the statistical uncertainties are highly non-Gaussian, and the Bayesian approach is applied to include the full shapes of these uncertainties. Data corresponding to 2.2 × 1020 protons on target of neutrino mode running and 4.9 × 1020 protons on target of anti-neutrino running is analysed. When the data was unblinded, five Λ production candidates were selected from the data, consistent with the MC simulation prediction of 5.3 ± 1.1 events. The final estimated cross section is 1.8+2.0-1.6 × 10−40 cm2/Ar when employing the sideband constraint procedure. A similar result of 2.0+2.2-1.8 × 10−40 cm2/Ar is obtained when performing the visual scan instead. The methods used in this analysis are intended to be easily exported to other LArTPC detectors such as the Short Baseline Near Detector.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
201736
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
29 Aug 2023 15:45
Refereed?:
No
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 06:04