This Letter reports results from the first long-baseline search for sterile antineutrinos mixing in an accelerator-based antineutrino-dominated beam. The rate of neutral-current interactions in the two NOvA detectors, at distances of 1 and 810 km from the beam source, is analyzed using an exposure of 12.51×1020 protons-on-target from the NuMI beam at Fermilab running in antineutrino mode. A total of 121 of neutral-current candidates are observed at the far detector, compared to a prediction of 122±11(stat.)±15(syst.) assuming mixing only between three active flavors. No evidence for ν¯μ→ν¯s oscillation is observed. Interpreting this result within a 3+1 model, constraints are placed on the mixing angles θ24<25° and θ34<32° at the 90% C.L. for 0.05 eV2≤Δm412≤0.5 eV2, the range of mass splittings that produces no significant oscillations at the near detector. These are the first 3+1 confidence limits set using long-baseline accelerator antineutrinos.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)