Observation of CNO cycle solar neutrinos in Borexino

The Borexino Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The Borexino detector, located at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy, is a radiopure 280 ton liquid scintillator detector with a primary goal to measure low-energy solar neutrinos created in the core of the Sun. These neutrinos are a consequence of nuclear fusion reactions in the solar core where Hydrogen is burned into Helium and provide a direct probe of the energy production processes, namely the proton-proton (pp) chain and the Carbon-Nitrogen-Oxygen (CNO) cycle. The fusion of Hydrogen in the case of the CNO cycle, which is expected to contribute in the order of less than 1% to the total solar energy, is catalyzed by Carbon, Nitrogen, and Oxygen directly depending on the abundances of these elements in the solar core. The measurement of CNO neutrinos is challenging due to the high spectral correlation with the decay electrons of the background isotope 210Bi and the pep solar neutrino signal. The experimental achievement of thermal stabilization of the Borexino detector after mid 2016, has opened the possibility to develop a method to constrain the 210Bi rate through its decay daughter and α emitter 210Po which can be identified in Borexino with an efficiency close to 100 percent on an event-by-event basis. Moreover, the flux of pep neutrinos can be constrained precisely through a global analysis of solar neutrino data which is independent of the dataset used for the CNO analysis. This conference contribution is dedicated to the first experimental evidence of neutrinos produced in the CNO fusion cycle in the Sun which is at the same time the dominant energy production mechanism in heavier stars compared to the Sun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012128
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 21 2022
Event17th International Conference on Topics in Astroparticle and Underground Physics, TAUP 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Aug 26 2021Sep 3 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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