Atmospheric Neutrino Oscillations with IceCube DeepCore

Project: Research project

Project Details


Embedded deep in the ice cap at the South Pole, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory (ICNO) is the world's largest and most sensitive high energy neutrino telescope. It is a 1 billion-ton detector using the Antarctic ice as a detection medium for high energy atmospheric and astrophysical neutrinos. Most of the neutrinos observed by IceCube exhibit energies in the range expected for atmospheric neutrinos originating from decays of particles produced in extensive air showers by cosmic rays coming from nearby sectors of the Milky Way Galaxy. These may be used to measure the fundamental properties of neutrinos. At higher energies, astrophysical neutrinos are key probes of the high-energy universe. Because of their unique properties, neutrinos escape even dense regions, are not deflected by galactic or extra-galactic magnetic fields and traverse the photon-filled universe unhindered. Thus, neutrinos provide direct information about the dynamics and interiors of the powerful cosmic objects that may be the origins of high energy cosmic rays: supernovae, black holes, pulsars, active galactic nuclei and other extreme extragalactic phenomena.

This award will provide opportunities for young physicists at all levels to become involved in particle astrophysics, with a particular emphasis on encouraging participation among women and underrepresented groups. The PI founded and serves as the faculty mentor to the Physics and Astronomy Women (PAW). PAW provides a forum for open discussion of the challenges facing women as well as their solutions, runs a mentoring program for starting undergraduate and graduate women in physics, increases the local visibility of women in science through outreach activities, and provides networking and professional development opportunities in a friendly environment.

The DeepCore extension, a sub-array comprising the seven innermost IceCube strings, augmented by eight additional strings containing sensors deployed below 2100 m in the clearest ice, has enabled the observation of atmospheric neutrinos at energies as low as 10 billion electron-volts. This award will support this group to continue to exploit the DeepCore data to answer fundamental questions of neutrino physics, including a high statistics inclusive measurement of tau neutrino appearance and, with further refinements in reconstruction and analysis techniques, measurements of the neutrino oscillation parameters. They will use neutrinos from IceCube and DeepCore to facilitate real-time searches for multi-messenger astrophysical sources via the Astrophysical Multi-messenger Observatory Network.

Effective start/end date8/1/157/31/18


  • National Science Foundation: $810,000.00


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