Muon-neutrino elastic scattering on electrons is an observable neutrino process whose cross section is precisely known. Consequently a measurement of this process in an accelerator-based νμ beam can improve the knowledge of the absolute neutrino flux impinging upon the detector; typically this knowledge is limited to ∼10% due to uncertainties in hadron production and focusing. We have isolated a sample of 135±17 neutrino-electron elastic scattering candidates in the segmented scintillator detector of MINERvA, after subtracting backgrounds and correcting for efficiency. We show how this sample can be used to reduce the total uncertainty on the NuMI νμ flux from 9% to 6%. Our measurement provides a flux constraint that is useful to other experiments using the NuMI beam, and this technique is applicable to future neutrino beams operating at multi-GeV energies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory under U.S. Department of Energy Contract No. DE-AC02-07CH11359 which included the MINERvA construction project. Construction support also was granted by the United States National Science Foundation under Award PHY-0619727 and by the University of Rochester. Support for participating scientists was provided by NSF and DOE (USA) by CAPES and CNPq (Brazil), by CoNaCyT (Mexico), by CONICYT (Chile), by CONCYTEC, DGI-PUCP and IDI/IGI-UNI (Peru), and by Latin American Center for Physics (CLAF). We thank the MINOS Collaboration for use of its near detector data. We acknowledge the dedicated work of the Fermilab staff responsible for the operation and maintenance of the beamline and detector and the Fermilab Computing Division and Particle Physics Division for support of data processing.