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The MiniBooNE experiment at Fermilab has amassed the largest sample to date of π0s produced in neutral current (NC) neutrino-nucleus interactions at low energy. This Letter reports a measurement of the momentum distribution of π0s produced in mineral oil (CH2) and the first observation of coherent π0 production below 2 GeV. In the forward direction, the yield of events observed above the expectation for resonant production is attributed primarily to coherent production off carbon, but may also include a small contribution from diffractive production on hydrogen. Integrated over the MiniBooNE neutrino flux, the sum of the NC coherent and diffractive modes is found to be (19.5 ± 1.1 (stat) ± 2.5 (sys)) % of all exclusive NC π0 production at MiniBooNE. These measurements are of immediate utility because they quantify an important background to MiniBooNE's search for νμ → νe oscillations. © 2008 Elsevier B.V.

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Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics

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