India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) - A Brief Overview

Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) could help India leapfrog in the technological domain by conducting research on cutting-edge technologies. This article helps one understand the importance of Neutrino, the Importance behind the Indian Neutrino Observatory and the different types of Neutrinos.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

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Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) – Introduction, Location

Approval has been granted by the Union cabinet for setting up an Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) for studying fundamental particles called the neutrinos. The location of the Observatory would be in the Bodi West Hills region of the Theni district, about 110 kilometres west of Madurai in Tamil Nadu.

  1. INO involves the construction of an underground laboratory. The project location was initially decided to be located in the Nilgiris but later, on grounds that it was too close to tiger habitat, was moved to a cavern under a rocky mountain in the Bodi West Hills.
  2. It involves Inter-Institutional Centre for High Energy Physics (IICHEP) and Iron Calorimeter Detector (ICAL).
  3. Approval has also been granted to construct a magnetized Iron Calorimeter in order to study the properties of the neutrino, specifically, the mass hierarchy in various types of neutrino. It will be the largest in the world weighing over 50,000 tonnes.
  4. Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Atomic Energy jointly support the project.

As per the information provided by the Department of Science and Technology, the State-wise number of observatories are as follows –

Karnataka  Six Astronomical observatories.
Uttrakhand Four Observatories for study of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Atmospheric Studies.
Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) operates strategically located Magnetic Observatories across the country as follows
  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Tamil Nadu 
  3. Assam 
  4. Meghalaya 
  5. Gujarat
  6. Maharashtra
  7. Rajasthan 
  8. Jammu & Kashmir
  9. Uttar Pradesh
  10. Andaman & Nicobar Island (UT)
  11. Puducherry (UT
One in each 

Neutrinos

Neutrinos are electrically neutral, elementary weakly interacting subatomic particles with half-integer spin. They belong to the lepton family. Neutrinos were first proposed by Swiss scientist Wolfgang Pauli, are the second most widely occurring particle in the universe, only second to photons, the particle which makes up light. Neutrinos are similar to the more familiar electron, with one crucial difference: neutrinos do not carry electric charge. Because neutrinos are electrically neutral, they are not affected by the electromagnetic forces which act on electrons.

  1. They are light.
  2. They have little mass or are nearly massless.
  3. They are no-charge particles that only interact with weak nuclear force.

Aspirants can check out the following relevant links for the wholistic preparation o the upcoming UPSC examinations-

Topic of the Day – KATRIN Experiment  Large Hadron Collider: Purpose, Description BoBBLE – Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experiment
LOHAFEX: Facts and Details about the Indo-German collaborated experiment Council of Scientific Industrial Research Bio-fortification
Vegetative Propagation Solar Radiation Management Tissue Culture
Structure of Atmosphere – Layers of the Atmosphere Composition of the Atmosphere Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP 2020)
Nano Mission – Nanotechnology Radioactivity and Radioisotopes Hazardous Substances – An Introduction

Three Types of Neutrinos

  1. “Electron neutrino” is associated with the electron
  2. “Muon neutrino”
  3. “Tau neutrino”
  • In 2015, the Nobel prize in physics was awarded to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. Mcdonald for discovering neutrino oscillations demonstrating that neutrinos have mass.
  • Neutrinos are the least harmful of all elementary particles, as they almost never react with solid bodies.
  • The mass of a neutron is 1.67×10 to the power -27 kg while the mass of a neutrino is of the order of 1×10 to the power -37kg. Hence, a neutrino is about 17 billion times lighter than a neutron. The two are incomparable.

Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) – Importance

  1. It will be the largest experimental facility to come up in the country. It will facilitate the development of cutting-edge technology and build sophisticated instruments.
  2. This observation will tell us more about the properties of neutrino particles, whose main source is the Sun and the Earth’s atmosphere.
  3. Neutrinos may have a role to play in nuclear non-proliferation through the remote monitoring of nuclear reactors.
  4. This will also help in developing a model of physics beyond the so-called Standard Model of Particle Physics.
  5. Understanding neutrinos could help in detection of oil and mineral deposits.
  6. They may open up a faster way to send data than the current ‘around the earth’ model, using towers, cables or satellites as they can pass through the Earth.
  7. It would also have a great impact on diverse fields such as nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, medical imaging etc.
  8. Neutrinos are the information bearers of the universe — which are almost never lost in their path. Efforts in studying neutrinos at INO may help unravel the deepest mystery of the universe
INO Project Key Pointers
About – building a world-class underground laboratory for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research
National Neutrino Collaboration Group (NNCG) includes more than 50 scientists from about 15 Institutes and Universities in India
Management of Funds – Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST)
Objective – To observe neutrinos and antineutrinos produced in Earth’s Atmosphere
Prominent Features – Underground laboratory, Construction of a magnetized Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) which will have the world’s largest magnet, Setting up Inter Institutional Centre for High Energy Physics (IICHEP).

Civil Service Exam aspirants can refer to the list of UPSC Books given in the link, to augment their preparation.

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