Journal article Open Access

Mikheyev-Smirnov-Wolfenstein enhancement of oscillations as a possible solution to the solar-neutrino problem

Rosen, S. P.; Gelb, J. M.

Mikheyev and Smirnov have observed that neutrino oscillations in the Sun can be greatly enhanced through the mechanism of Wolfenstein matter oscillations. We develop a qualitative understanding of this phenomenon in the small-mixing-angle limit and carry out extensive calculations in order to apply it to the solar-neutrino problem. Our simple theoretical model agrees remarkably well with the calculations. After determining those values of Δm2 and sin22theta in the small-mixing-angle limit for which the B8 plus Be7 neutrino capture rate in Cl37 is suppressed by a factor 2–4, we predict the corresponding capture rate for pp plus Be7 neutrinos in Ga71. The gallium capture rate can range from no reduction to a factor of 10 reduction. We also determine the modified spectrum of B8 neutrinos arriving at Earth and discuss the importance of this spectrum as a means of choosing between oscillations and the solar model as the cause of the solar-neutrino problem, and also as a means of distinguishing between different sets of oscillation parameters.

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