Global Fit to Modified Neutrino Couplings and the Cabibbo-Angle Anomaly

Recently, discrepancies of up to 4σ between the different determinations of the Cabibbo angle were observed. In this context, we point out that this “Cabibbo-angle anomaly” can be explained by lepton flavor universality violating new physics in the neutrino sector. However, modified neutrino couplings to standard model gauge bosons also affect many other observables sensitive to lepton flavor universality violation, which have to be taken into account in order to assess the viability of this explanation. Therefore, we perform a model-independent global analysis in a Bayesian approach and find that the tension in the Cabibbo angle is significantly reduced, while the agreement with other data is also mostly improved. In fact, nonzero modifications of electron and muon neutrino couplings are preferred at more than 99.99% C.L. (corresponding to more than 4σ). Still, since constructive effects in the muon sector are necessary, simple models with right-handed neutrinos (whose global fit we update as a by-product) cannot fully explain data, pointing towards more sophisticated new physics models.

Reference: A.M. Coutinho et al. , Physical Review Letters 125, 071802 (2020)

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