Basically we have two types of neutrino interactions: charged-current (CC) and neutral-current (NC). The former is when neutrino exchange W+/- with nucleons while the latter is when neutrino exchange Z with nucleons. There is another way to classify the neutrino interactions based on the final state of nucleon. If the final state of nucleon doesn’t change after neutrino scattering, we call it “elastic”. If the final state change, we call it “inelastic”. In the case of charged-current, we have “quasi-elastic” interaction when the nucleon changes but not break up.
𝜈μ + n →μ- + p 𝜈e + n →e- + p (quasi-elastic scattering)
The neutrino-nucleus interactions can be separated into three energy region: low, intermediate and high energy. At low energy O(MeV) (interest to solar and reactor neutrino experiments), the interaction length is greater than the nuclear diameter. Thus the initial and final states are specific nuclear levels. In the intermediate energy O(1.GeV) (interest to atmospheric and accelerator-based neutrino experiment), the interaction length is around 1fm and the nuclear effect becomes important. At high energy O(100 GeV), the interaction length is ~0.1fm and thus nuclear effects are depressed. We will focus on the neutrino-nucleus interaction in intermediate energy.
In most of neutrino experiment, the target is nuclei and we need to model neutrino-nuclei interactions. In the simplest sense, this model needs a combination of neutrino-nucleon scattering and a model for nucleons in the nuclei. In the simplest picture, neutrino-nuclei interaction can be treated as the incoherent sum of interaction from free nucleons. However in reality, the nucleons in the nuclei have some initial momentum which would modified the kinematics of interaction products. Furthermore, kinematics of interaction product might be altered when they get out of nucleus after initial interacting with nucleon.