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  1. Abstract

    A thorough understanding of neutrino–nucleus scattering physics is crucial for the successful execution of the entire US neutrino physics program. Neutrino–nucleus interaction constitutes one of the biggest systematic uncertainties in neutrino experiments—both at intermediate energies affecting long-baseline deep underground neutrino experiment, as well as at low energies affecting coherent scattering neutrino program—and could well be the difference between achieving or missing discovery level precision. To this end, electron–nucleus scattering experiments provide vital information to test, assess and validate different nuclear models and event generators intended to test, assess and validate different nuclear models and event generators intended to be used in neutrino experiments. Similarly, for the low-energy neutrino program revolving around the coherent elastic neutrino–nucleus scattering (CEvNS) physics at stopped pion sources, such as at ORNL, the main source of uncertainty in the evaluation of the CEvNS cross section is driven by the underlying nuclear structure, embedded in the weak form factor, of the target nucleus. To this end, parity-violating electron scattering (PVES) experiments, utilizing polarized electron beams, provide vital model-independent information in determining weak form factors. This information is vital in achieving a percent level precision needed to disentangle new physics signals from the standard model expected CEvNS rate. In this white paper, we highlight connections between electron- and neutrino–nucleus scattering physics at energies ranging from 10 s of MeV to a few GeV, review the status of ongoing and planned electron scattering experiments, identify gaps, and lay out a path forward that benefits the neutrino community. We also highlight the systemic challenges with respect to the divide between the nuclear and high-energy physics communities and funding that presents additional hurdles in mobilizing these connections to the benefit of neutrino programs.

     
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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. We present measurements of the cross section for antineutrino charged-current quasielasticlike scattering on hydrocarbon using the medium energy NuMI wide-band neutrino beam peaking at antineutrino energy hE¯νi ∼ 6 GeV. The measurements are presented as a function of the longitudinal momentum (pjj) and transverse momentum (pT) of the final state muon. This work complements our previously reported high statistics measurement in the neutrino channel and extends the previous antineutrino measurement made in a low energy beam at hE¯νi ∼ 3.5 GeV out to pT of 2.5 GeV=c. Current theoretical models do not completely describe the data in this previously unexplored high pT region. The single differential cross section as a function of four-momentum transfer (Q2 QE) now extends to 4 GeV2 with high statistics. The cross section as a function of Q2 QE shows that the tuned simulations developed by the MINERvA Collaboration that agreed well with the low energy beam measurements do not agree as well with the medium energy beam measurements. Newer neutrino interaction models such as the GENIE v3 tunes are better able to simulate the high Q2 QE region. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  5. Abstract Scattering of high energy particles from nucleons probes their structure, as was done in the experiments that established the non-zero size of the proton using electron beams 1 . The use of charged leptons as scattering probes enables measuring the distribution of electric charges, which is encoded in the vector form factors of the nucleon 2 . Scattering weakly interacting neutrinos gives the opportunity to measure both vector and axial vector form factors of the nucleon, providing an additional, complementary probe of their structure. The nucleon transition axial form factor, F A , can be measured from neutrino scattering from free nucleons, ν μ n  →  μ − p and $${\bar{\nu }}_{\mu }p\to {\mu }^{+}n$$ ν ¯ μ p → μ + n , as a function of the negative four-momentum transfer squared ( Q 2 ). Up to now, F A ( Q 2 ) has been extracted from the bound nucleons in neutrino–deuterium scattering 3–9 , which requires uncertain nuclear corrections 10 . Here we report the first high-statistics measurement, to our knowledge, of the $${\bar{\nu }}_{\mu }\,p\to {\mu }^{+}n$$ ν ¯ μ p → μ + n cross-section from the hydrogen atom, using the plastic scintillator target of the MINERvA 11 experiment, extracting F A from free proton targets and measuring the nucleon axial charge radius, r A , to be 0.73 ± 0.17 fm. The antineutrino–hydrogen scattering presented here can access the axial form factor without the need for nuclear theory corrections, and enables direct comparisons with the increasingly precise lattice quantum chromodynamics computations 12–15 . Finally, the tools developed for this analysis and the result presented are substantial advancements in our capabilities to understand the nucleon structure in the weak sector, and also help the current and future neutrino oscillation experiments 16–20 to better constrain neutrino interaction models. 
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  6. Abstract We compare different neural network architectures for machine learning algorithms designed to identify the neutrino interaction vertex position in the MINERvA detector. The architectures developed and optimized by hand are compared with the architectures developed in an automated way using the package “Multi-node Evolutionary Neural Networks for Deep Learning” (MENNDL), developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. While the domain-expert hand-tuned network was the best performer, the differences were negligible and the auto-generated networks performed as well. There is always a trade-off between human, and computer resources for network optimization and this work suggests that automated optimization, assuming resources are available, provides a compelling way to save significant expert time. 
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