Mon, 10/13/2014 - 14:27

In a recent issue of Nature, the BOREXINO experiment team, including  prof. Marcin Wójcik, dr Marcin Misiaszek & dr Grzegorz Zuzel from Jagiellonian University’s Faculty of Physics, published an article reporting direct observations of neutrinos from the first step of the proton-proton fusion process in the Sun. Direct detection of pp neutrinos is confirmation of physicists’ main theoretical models describing the Sun and its energy origins. According to these models, almost 99 per cent of the power of the Sun is generated in its core by the proton-proton fusion process. The  fusion of two protons into deuteron is a prelude to a chain of reactions that transform hydrogen into helium. BOREXINO is one of the world’s most sensitive neutrino detectors with the unique capability of low energy neutrino registration in real time. It has been working since 2007 in the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy and has so far delivered information on almost the entire solar neutrino spectrum, as well as on geo-neutrinos (neutrinos produced in radioactive decays in the Earth). Presently the BOREXINO team is working on detection of neutrinos from the  carbo-nitrogen-oxygen (CNO) energy production cycle, which is of great interest for bigger stars (its contribution to the total energy production may be much more significant than in the Sun) The measurement of the CNO neutrino flux, even more challenging than the measurement of pp neutrinos, will also help to solve the Sun’s metallicity problem (an abundance of elements heavier than He).

Prof. Marcin Wójcik is a grant holder of the HARMONIA funding opportunity (supporting participation of the Polish team in BOREXINO),  dr Marcin Misiaszek has been granted funding within the SONATA BIS scheme, dr Grzegorz Zuzel is both a HARMONIA and SONATA BIS awardee.

Learn more about the project:


Scientific American



New Scientist

Physics World

This text was based on information found on the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science's website, Jagiellonian University.