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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Physics

Year Degree Awarded

Spring 2014

First Advisor

Andrea Pocar

Subject Categories

Elementary Particles and Fields and String Theory | The Sun and the Solar System

Abstract

This dissertation presents the first direct detection of pp solar neutrinos within Borexino, the underground liquid-scintilator detector located at the Gran Sasso National Labratory(LNGS) in Italy, designed to measure the interaction of neutrinos through neutrino-electron elastic scattering. The rate of scattering in Borexino from the pp solar neutrino spectrum is measured to be 155 +/- 16(stat) +/- 13(sys) counts per day per 100 tonnes. With this measurement we are able to rule out the no oscillation hypothesis at the 2-sigma C.L. and the results agree with Standard Solar Model predictions within 1.1-sigma. These neutrinos are from the keystone proton-proton fusion reaction in the Sun and collectively they vastly outnumber those from the reactions that follow. Their detection is an important step towards completing solar neutrino spectroscopy and verifies our understanding of the Sun.

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