Section of neutrino observatory under Mount Kamioka.
Researchers for the first time have observed electron antineutrinos turning into other types of particles ~ a phenomenon occurring more frequently than earlier thought.
A type of antimatter ~ which can annihilate matter on contact ~ electron antineutrinos are partner particles with electron neutrinos. (Other forms of neutrinos are muon and tau, each with its antimatter counterpart.)
According to LiveScience.com:
For years, all neutrinos were thought to weigh nothing at all, but recently scientists discovered they do have some mass, though it's less than one-millionth that of an electron. This mass, in fact, enables an especially bizarre habit neutrinos have of changing from one type to another, a phenomenon called neutrino oscillations.
"This is a new type of neutrino oscillation, and it is surprisingly large," Yifang Wang of China's Institute of High Energy Physics, the co-spokesperson and Chinese project manager of the Daya Bay experiment, said in a statement.
"Our precise measurement will complete the understanding of the neutrino oscillation and pave the way for the future understanding of matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe."
The finding offers the hope of helping answer one of the universe's most baffling questions: Why is everything made of matter, and not antimatter?