KamLAND Sensitivity to Neutrinos from Pre-Supernova Stars

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In the late stages of nuclear burning for massive stars (M > 8 M⊙), the production of neutrino–antineutrino pairs through various processes becomes the dominant stellar cooling mechanism. As the star evolves, the energy of these neutrinos increases and in the days preceding the supernova a significant fraction of emitted electron anti-neutrinos exceeds the energy threshold for inverse beta decay on free hydrogen. This is the golden channel for liquid scintillator detectors because the coincidence signature allows for significant reductions in background signals. We find that the kiloton-scale liquid scintillator detector KamLAND can detect these pre-supernova neutrinos from a star with a mass of 25 M⊙ at a distance less than 690 pc with 3σ significance before the supernova. This limit is dependent on the neutrino mass ordering and background levels. KamLAND takes data continuously and can provide a supernova alert to the community.

neutrinos, supernovae: general