The Gallium Anomaly

Steven R. Elliott, Vladimir Gavrin, Wick Haxton
Nuclear Experiment, Nuclear Experiment (nucl-ex), Nuclear Theory (nucl-th)
2023-06-04 16:00:00
In order to test the end-to-end operations of gallium solar neutrino experiments, intense electron-capture sources were fabricated to measure the responses of the radiochemical SAGE and GALLEX/GNO detectors to known fluxes of low-energy neutrinos. Such tests were viewed at the time as a cross-check, given the many tests of $^{71}$Ge recovery and counting that had been routinely performed, with excellent results. However, the four $^{51}$Cr and $^{37}$Ar source experiments yielded rates below expectations, a result commonly known as the Ga anomaly. As the intensity of the electron-capture sources can be measured to high precision, the neutrino lines they produce are fixed by known atomic and nuclear rates, and the neutrino absorption cross section on $^{71}$Ga is tightly constrained by the lifetime of $^{71}$Ge, no simple explanation for the anomaly has been found. To check these calibration experiments, a dedicated experiment BEST was performed, utilizing a neutrino source of unprecedented intensity and a detector optimized to increase statistics while providing some information on counting rate as a function of distance from the source. The results BEST obtained are consistent with the earlier solar neutrino calibration experiments, and when combined with those measurements, yield a Ga anomaly with a significance of approximately $4\sigma$, under conservative assumptions. But BEST found no evidence of distance dependence and thus no explicit indication of new physics. In this review we describe the extensive campaigns carried out by SAGE, GALLEX/GNO, and BEST to demonstrate the reliability and precision of their experimental procedures, including $^{71}$Ge recovery, counting, and analysis. We also describe efforts to define uncertainties in the neutrino capture cross section. With the results from BEST, an anomaly remains.
PDF: The Gallium Anomaly.pdf
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