Why in the News?
- Recently, Russian scientists launched one of the world’s biggest underwater neutrino telescopes called the Baikal-GVD (Gigaton Volume Detector) in the waters of Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake situated in Siberia.
Importance of Neutrino study
- Studying the neutrino helps in understanding of the origins of the universe since some neutrinos were formed during the Big Bang, others continue to be formed as a result of supernova explosions or because of nuclear reactions in the Sun.
- The Baikal-GVD is one of the three largest neutrino detectors in the world along with the IceCube at the South Pole and ANTARES in the Mediterranean Sea.
What are fundamental particles?
- The particles of matter can be classified into quarks and leptons. But this only applies to “normal matter” or the matter that scientists know that five per cent of the universe is made up of.
- Protons, Electrons and Neutrons are fundamental particles that all the particles are made up of.
- Protons (carry a positive charge) and neutrons (no charge) are types of quarks, whereas electrons (carry a negative charge) are types of leptons.
- Remaining 95% of the universe comprises dark matter (27 percent) and dark energy (68 percent).
Detection of Neutrinos
- One way of detecting neutrinos is in water or ice, where neutrinos leave a flash of light or a line of bubbles when they interact. To capture these signs, scientists have to build large detectors.
- An underwater telescope such as the GVD is designed to detect high-energy neutrinos that may have come from the Earth’s core, or could have been produced during nuclear reactions in the Sun.