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Advances in High Energy Physics
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 381569, 15 pages
Research Article

Quasi-Classical Gravity Effect on Neutrino Oscillations in a Gravitational Field of a Heavy Astrophysical Object

1Departamento de Física, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Casilla 110-V, 2930123 Valparaíso, Chile
2Theoretical High Energy Physics, Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics, Lund University, Sölvegatan 14A, 223-62 Lund, Sweden

Received 1 December 2014; Revised 4 March 2015; Accepted 1 May 2015

Academic Editor: Srubabati Goswami

Copyright © 2015 Jonathan Miller and Roman Pasechnik. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The publication of this article was funded by SCOAP3.


In the framework of quantum field theory, a graviton interacts locally with a quantum state having definite mass, that is, the gravitational mass eigenstate, while a weak boson interacts with a state having definite flavor, that is, the flavor eigenstate. An interaction of a neutrino with an energetic graviton may trigger the collapse of the neutrino to a definite mass eigenstate with probability expressed in terms of PMNS mixing matrix elements. Thus, gravitons would induce quantum decoherence of a coherent neutrino flavor state similarly to how weak bosons induce quantum decoherence of a neutrino in a definite mass state. We demonstrate that such an essentially quantum gravity effect may have strong consequences for neutrino oscillation phenomena in astrophysics due to relatively large scattering cross sections of relativistic neutrinos undergoing large angle radiation of energetic gravitons in gravitational field of a classical massive source (i.e., the quasi-classical case of gravitational Bethe-Heitler scattering). This graviton-induced decoherence is compared to decoherence due to propagation in the presence of the Earth matter effect. Based on this study, we propose a new technique for the indirect detection of energetic gravitons by measuring the flavor composition of astrophysical neutrinos.