Measurement of the muon neutrino inclusive charged current cross section on iron using the MINOS detector



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The Neutrinos at the Main Injector (NuMI) facility at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL) produces an intense muon neutrino beam used by the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS), a neutrino oscillation experiment, and the Main INjector ExpeRiment [nu]-A, (MINER[nu]A), a neutrino interaction experiment. Absolute neutrino cross sections are determined via [mathematical equation], where the numerator is the measured number of neutrino interactions in the MINOS Detector and the denominator is the flux of incident neutrinos. Many past neutrino experiments have measured relative cross sections due to a lack of precise measurements of the incident neutrino flux, normalizing to better established reaction processes, such as quasielastic neutrino-nucleon scattering. But recent measurements of neutrino interactions on nuclear targets have brought to light questions about our understanding of nuclear effects in neutrino interactions. In this thesis the [nu subscript mu] inclusive charged current cross section on iron is measured using the MINOS Detector. The MINOS detector consists of alternating planes of steel and scintillator. The MINOS detector is optimized to measure muons produced in charged current [nu subscript mu] interactions. Along with muons, these interactions produce hadronic showers. The neutrino energy is measured from the total energy the particles deposit in the detector. The incident neutrino flux is measured using the muons produced alongside the neutrinos in meson decay. Three ionization chamber monitors located in the downstream portion of the NuMI beamline are used to measure the muon flux and thereby infer the neutrino flux by relation to the underlying pion and kaon meson flux. This thesis describes the muon flux instrumentation in the NuMI beam, its operation over the two year duration of this measurement, and the techniques used to derive the neutrino flux.