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Spin chains in a quantum system undergo a collective twisting motion as the result of quasiparticles clustering together. Demonstrating this KPZ dynamics concept are pairs of neighboring spins, shown in red, pointing upward in contrast to their peers, in blue, which alternate directions. Credit: Michelle Lehman/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Using complementary computing calculations and neutron scattering techniques, researchers from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories and the University of California, Berkeley, discovered the existence of an elusive type of spin dynamics in a quantum mechanical system.

SCGSR Awardee Jacob Zettlemoyer, Indiana University Bloomington, led data analysis and worked with ORNL’s Mike Febbraro on coatings, shown under blue light, to shift argon light to visible wavelengths to boost detection. Credit: Rex Tayloe/Indiana University

The COHERENT particle physics experiment at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has firmly established the existence of a new kind of neutrino interaction.

COHERENT collaborators were the first to observe coherent elastic neutrino–nucleus scattering. Their results, published in the journal Science, confirm a prediction of the Standard Model and establish constraints on alternative theoretical models. Image c

After more than a year of operation at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the COHERENT experiment, using the world’s smallest neutrino detector, has found a big fingerprint of the elusive, electrically neutral particles that interact only weakly with matter.