Neutrino Physics with Low-Temperature Detectors
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- Giuliani, A. J Low Temp Phys (2012) 167: 991. doi:10.1007/s10909-012-0576-9
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In the last years, neutrino physics has provided exciting discoveries that for the first time have cracked the solid building of the Standard Model. However, many mysteries remain, and prospects are even more appealing. Low temperature detectors can give fundamental contributions to this field. They already play a major role in the study of neutrinoless double beta decay, a rare nuclear process that can ascertain if neutrino is a self-conjugate elementary fermion and fix its mass scale. Cuoricino, a project based on macro-bolometers, is the most sensitive double-beta-decay search in the world together with the much debated Heidelberg–Moscow experiment. CUORE, its natural continuation, is one of the most promising experiments under construction or commissioning, capable to start to attack the so-called inverted hierarchy region of the neutrino mass pattern. Several ideas based on low-temperature detectors (among which the simultaneous detection of phonon and scintillation light) are among the most promising approaches for next-generation experiments, capable to cover fully the inverted hierarchy region. In other sectors of neutrino physics, like the direct measurement of the neutrino mass in the MARE and ECHO projects or the detection of coherent neutrino-nucleus elastic scattering, low temperature detectors look less mature scientifically. However, they remain extremely promising devices to address these very challenging searches.