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The prompt atmospheric neutrino flux in the light of LHCb

Gauld, Rhorry; Rojo, Juan; Rottoli, Luca; Sarkar, Subir; Talbert, Jim

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Rhorry Gauld

Juan Rojo

Luca Rottoli

Subir Sarkar

Jim Talbert


The recent observation of very high energy cosmic neutrinos by IceCube heralds the beginning of neutrino astronomy. At these energies, the dominant background to the astrophysical signal is the flux of ‘prompt’ neutrinos, arising from the decay of charmed mesons produced by cosmic ray collisions in the atmosphere. In this work we provide predictions for the prompt atmospheric neutrino flux in the framework of perturbative QCD, using state-of-the-art Monte Carlo event generators. Our calculation includes the constraints set by charm production measurements from the LHCb experiment at 7 TeV, recently validated with the corresponding 13TeV data. Our result for the prompt flux is a factor of about 2 below the previous benchmark calculation, in general agreement with other recent estimates, but with an improved estimate of the uncertainty. This alleviates the existing tension between the theoretical prediction and IceCube limits, and suggests that a direct detection of the prompt flux is imminent.


Gauld, R., Rojo, J., Rottoli, L., Sarkar, S., & Talbert, J. (2016). The prompt atmospheric neutrino flux in the light of LHCb. Journal of High Energy Physics, 2016(2), Article 130.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 2, 2016
Online Publication Date Feb 19, 2016
Publication Date Feb 28, 2016
Deposit Date Apr 1, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 2, 2019
Journal Journal of High Energy Physics
Print ISSN 1126-6708
Publisher Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2016
Issue 2
Article Number 130


Published Journal Article (891 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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