China is hunting the world's most elusive particles a mile beneath the ocean floor

To search for light flashes that indicate the existence of neutrinos, China is placing thousands of sensors nearly a mile below the top of the water.

To find the most illusive subatomic particles in the universe, China is developing a device that will be buried deep beneath the ocean's surface.

Tens of billions of these ghostly neutrinos pass through the Planet (and your body) every second without coming into contact with anything. The center of a rogue atom will occasionally impact with these neutrally charged particles, producing an almost imperceptible spark of light.

In addition to letting them know that a neutrino was present, this flash of light also enables them to speculate as to its possible source. Atoms combine together deep inside the sun during nuclear processes, producing some neutrinos. The neutrinos produced by those fusion processes leave the solar in a matter of seconds. Nuclear fission, which occurs in nuclear plants, is one source of some neutrinos. The Department of Energy claims that neutrinos can even be released by the potassium decomposing within a banana. Additionally, neutrinos were just discovered for the first time in the Large Hadron Collider by scientists.

However, some neutrinos are solar system-external. These high-energy neutrinos could have come from supernovas, pulsars, black holes, or some other undiscovered phenomenon. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences are looking for these high-energy neutrinos.

According to Chen Mingjun, the project's chief scholar, the new detector will be constructed with 55,000 instruments hanging 0.6 miles (1 km) below the ocean's surface.

Clean water will improve the likelihood of finding neutrino signs, according to Chen.

To better identify the erratic flashes of light that disclose a neutrino, scientists must construct neutrino detectors in regions with a lot of transparent materials. The National Science Foundation's IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica is one example of an existing detector. It has 5,160 instruments and spans an area of about 0.2 cubic miles (1 cubic kilometers), nearly a mile below the ice. The ice down there is transparent enough for the instruments to detect the brief bursts of light.

There will be other undersea neutrino detectors in addition to the Chinese one. The world's deepest lake, Lake Baikal in Siberia, is where Russia is constructing the Baikal Gigaton Volume Detector (Baikal-GVD). The European Cubic Kilometer Neutrino Telescope, a multi-institutional partnership that will search for neutrinos in the Mediterranean, is another forthcoming project. Another multi-institution cooperation operating on a detector in the Pacific Ocean, off the Canadian province of British Columbia, is the Pacific Ocean Neutrino Experiment.

The Chinese device, however, will be much larger. According to Chen, the 55,000 monitors will encompass an area of 7 cubic miles (30 cubic km).

Finding out whether gamma rays and high-energy neutrinos may originate from the same cosmic sources would be one of the detector's particular objectives. Gamma rays, which are thought to be high-speed nuclear particles from outside the solar system, were discovered in 2021 by the China Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory. We can identify the source of the cosmic rays if the experts found neutrinos emanating from the same place, Chen said.