Seesaw mechanism

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In theoretical physics, the seesaw mechanism is a mechanism within grand unification theory, and in particular in theories of neutrino masses and neutrino oscillation, where it can be used to explain the smallness of observed neutrino masses relative to those of quarks and leptons.

There are several varieties commonly referred to as type 1 seesaw, type 2 seesaw etc. The simplest version, type 1, requires as additional assumptions to the standard model only two or more right-handed neutrino fields, and the existence of a very large mass scale in the theory which can for example be the scale of grand unification.

Type 1 seesaw

This model produces a light neutrino, corresponding to the three known neutrino flavors, and a very heavy, undiscovered sterile neutrino, which has possibly been detected.

The mathematics behind the seesaw mechanism is the following fact: the 2 by 2 matrix
<math>A = begin0&M\M&Bend text</math>
where <math>B</math> is much larger than <math>M</math>, has the following eigenvalues:
<math>lambda_pm = frac text</math>
The larger eigenvalue is approximately equal to <math>B</math> while the smaller eigenvalue is approximately equal to
<math>lambda_- approx...
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