Tau neutrino

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Generations of matter
Type First Second Third
up-type up charm top
down-type down strange bottom
charged electron muon tau
neutral electron neutrino muon neutrino tau neutrino
Tau neutrino
Composition Elementary particle
Statistics Fermionic
Generation Third
Interactions Weak, Gravity
Antiparticle Tau antineutrino (
Theorized Mid 1970s
Discovered DONUT collaboration (2000)
Mass Small but non-zero. See neutrino mass.
Electric charge 0 e
Color charge No
Spin 1/2
Weak isospin 1/2
Weak hypercharge −1
Chirality left-handed (for right-handed neutrinos, see sterile neutrino)

The tau neutrino or tauon neutrino is a subatomic elementary particle which has the symbol
and no net electric charge. Together with the tau, it forms the third generation of leptons, hence the name tau neutrino. Its existence was immediately implied after the tau particle was detected in a series of experiments between 1974 and 1977 by Martin Lewis Perl with his colleagues at the SLACLBL group.[1] The discovery of the tau neutrino was announced in July 2000 by the DONUT collaboration (Direct Observation of the Nu Tau).[2][3]


The tau neutrino is last of the leptons, and is the second most recent particle of the Standard Model to be discovered. The DONUT experiment from Fermilab was built during the 1990s to specifically detect the tau neutrino. These efforts came to fruition in July 2000, when the DONUT collaboration reported its detection.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ M. L. Perl; Abrams, G.; Boyarski, A.; Breidenbach, M.; Briggs, D.; Bulos, F.; Chinowsky, W.; Dakin, J.; Feldman, G.; Friedberg, C.; Fryberger, D.; Goldhaber, G.; Hanson, G.; Heile, F.; Jean-Marie, B.; Kadyk, J.; Larsen, R.; Litke, A.; Lüke, D.; Lulu, B.; Lüth, V.; Lyon, D.; Morehouse, C.; Paterson, J.; Pierre, F.; Pun, T.; Rapidis, P.; Richter, B.; Sadoulet, B.; et al. (1975). "Evidence for Anomalous Lepton Production in

    Annihilation". Physical Review Letters. 35 (22): 1489. Bibcode:1975PhRvL..35.1489P. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.35.1489.
  2. ^ a b "Physicists Find First Direct Evidence for Tau Neutrino at Fermilab" (Press release). Fermilab. 20 July 2000. 
  3. ^ a b K. Kodama et al. (DONUT Collaboration; Kodama; Ushida; Andreopoulos; Saoulidou; Tzanakos; Yager; Baller; Boehnlein; Freeman; Lundberg; Morfin; Rameika; Yun; Song; Yoon; Chung; Berghaus; Kubantsev; Reay; Sidwell; Stanton; Yoshida; Aoki; Hara; Rhee; Ciampa; Erickson; Graham; et al. (2001). "Observation of tau neutrino interactions". Physics Letters B. 504 (3): 218. Bibcode:2001PhLB..504..218D. arXiv:hep-ex/0012035Freely accessible. doi:10.1016/S0370-2693(01)00307-0.