Thursday, November 19, 2009


ARIANNA is in some sense a follow-on experiment to IceCube, a neutrino detector that is now being built at the South Pole. IceCube also looks for Cherenkov radiation from the charged particles produced in neutrino interactions. However, Icecube looks for visible light Cherenkov radiation, while ARIANNA looks for radio waves. IceCube is smaller than ARIANNA, and optimized for lower energy neutrinos.

The IceCube detector consists of one cubic kilometer of ice, just North (about 2 km) of the South Pole, where the ice cap is 2800 meters thick. We are building it (it's about 2/3 done) by drilling 86 holes, each 2500 meters (more than a mile) deep, using hot water to melt our way through the ice. We then lower strings of 60 very sensitive optical detectors into the holes, instrumenting the bottom 1,000 meters. LBNL built the data acquisition electronics for these modules, and is also very involved in the software, calibration and data analysis. Our main physics goal is to search for sources of high-energy (above 100 GeV) extra-terrestrial neutrinos. We also study a wide variety of other physics, ranging from searches for hypothetical particles like magnetic monoples, or different models of dark matter, to studies of the composition of cosmic rays. The latter study uses an array of surface detectors, IceTop to detect cosmic-ray air showers; we use the buried optical sensors to study high-energy muons in these showers. IceCube is being built to the right of the ski-way in this photo; the station living areas are to the left.

There are some photos here, a 'travelog' here, and links to other photo collections here.

n.b. I am editing this post on Nov. 27th,to fix a bad link, pointed out by Bob Stokstad.

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