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Poster (not participating in poster prize competition)

BSM Explanation of the 5 MeV Bump in the Reactor Antineutrino Spectrum


  • Dr. Vedran BRDAR

Primary authors

Session and Location

Wednesday Session, Poster Wall #150 (Hölderlin-Room)

Abstract content

We address the 5 MeV event excess in the measured antineutrino spectrum from nuclear reactors in a beyond the Standard model framework, a challenge which has not been met to date. We employ nonstandard neutrino interactions with baryons that can induce the reaction $^{13}$C$(\overline{\nu}, \overline{\nu}^\prime n)^{12} \text{C}^{}$ in organic scintillator detectors. The de-excitation of $^{12}\text{C}^{}$ yields a prompt $4.4$ MeV photon, while the thermalization of the product neutron causes proton recoils, which in turn yield an additional prompt energy contribution with finite width such that this process can mimic neutrinos at around 5 MeV energy. We find that the minimal viable model that could induce this reaction involves a sterile neutrino charged under an Abelian symmetry group. Such sterile neutrinos can simultaneously explain the discrepancy between the measured and predicted antineutrino fluxes at short-baseline reactor experiments.

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