Constraint on the matter–antimatter symmetry-violating phase in neutrino oscillations

The charge-conjugation and parity-reversal (CP) symmetry of fundamental particles is a symmetry between matter and antimatter. Violation of this CP symmetry was first observed in 19641, and CP violation in the weak interactions of quarks was soon established2. Sakharov proposed3 that CP violation is necessary to explain the observed imbalance of matter and antimatter abundance in the Universe. However, CP violation in quarks is too small to support this explanation. So far, CP violation has not been observed in non-quark elementary particle systems. It has been shown that CP violation in leptons could generate the matter–antimatter disparity through a process called leptogenesis4. Leptonic mixing, which appears in the standard model’s charged current interactions5,6, provides a potential source of CP violation through a complex phase δCP, which is required by some theoretical models of leptogenesis7,8,9. This CP violation can be measured in muon neutrino to electron neutrino oscillations and the corresponding antineutrino oscillations, which are experimentally accessible using accelerator-produced beams as established by the Tokai-to-Kamioka (T2K) and NOvA experiments10,11. Until now, the value of δCP has not been substantially constrained by neutrino oscillation experiments. Here we report a measurement using long-baseline neutrino and antineutrino oscillations observed by the T2K experiment that shows a large increase in the neutrino oscillation probability, excluding values of δCP that result in a large increase in the observed antineutrino oscillation probability at three standard deviations (3σ). The 3σ confidence interval for δCP, which is cyclic and repeats every 2π, is [−3.41, −0.03] for the so-called normal mass ordering and [−2.54, −0.32] for the inverted mass ordering. Our results indicate CP violation in leptons and our method enables sensitive searches for matter–antimatter asymmetry in neutrino oscillations using accelerator-produced neutrino beams. Future measurements with larger datasets will test whether leptonic CP violation is larger than the CP violation in quarks.

Fig. 1: Observed νe and \({\bar{{\boldsymbol{\nu }}}}_{{\bf{e}}}\) candidate events at SK.
Fig. 2: Particle identification in the SK detector.
Fig. 3: Event prediction model tuning to near-detector data.
Fig. 4: Constraints on PMNS oscillation parameters.

The likelihood surface data that support these findings will be made available for public access on

The T2K collaboration develops and maintains the code used for the simulation of the experimental apparatus and statistical analysis of the raw data used in this result. This code is shared among the collaboration, but not publicly distributed. Inquiries regarding the algorithms and methods used in this result may be directed to the corresponding author.

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We thank the J-PARC staff for superb accelerator performance. We thank the CERN NA61/SHINE Collaboration for providing valuable particle production data. We acknowledge the support of MEXT, Japan; NSERC (grant number SAPPJ-2014-00031), the NRC and CFI, Canada; the CEA and CNRS/IN2P3, France; the DFG, Germany; the INFN, Italy; the National Science Centre and Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Poland; the RSF (grant number 19-12-00325) and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Russia; MINECO and ERDF funds, Spain; the SNSF and SERI, Switzerland; the STFC, UK; and the DOE, USA. We also thank CERN for the UA1/NOMAD magnet, DESY for the HERA-B magnet mover system, NII for SINET4, the WestGrid and SciNet consortia in Compute Canada, and GridPP in the United Kingdom. In addition, participation of individual researchers and institutions has been further supported by funds from the ERC (FP7), “la Caixa” Foundation (ID 100010434, fellowship code LCF/BQ/IN17/11620050), the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement numbers 713673 and 754496, and H2020 grant numbers RISE-RISE-GA822070-JENNIFER2 2020 and RISE-GA872549-SK2HK; the JSPS, Japan; the Royal Society, UK; French ANR grant number ANR-19-CE31-0001; and the DOE Early Career programme, USA.

The authors declare no competing interests.

Extended Data Table 1 Systematic uncertainties

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