Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics with IceCube DeepCore Data

Project: Research project

Project Details


The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, embedded in the ice cap at the South Pole, is the world's largest and most sensitive high energy neutrino telescope. The recent addition of the DeepCore low energy extension allows IceCube to address fundamental questions in particle physics through the observation of atmospheric neutrinos at energies from 10 to 100 GeV. With this award the Penn State group will continue to use DeepCore data to address fundamental questions of neutrino physics, including testing whether the observed muon neutrino oscillations lead to tau neutrino appearance, or whether extra, sterile neutrino flavors are involved in neutrino oscillations. The Penn State group will also use IceCube and DeepCore to facilitate searches for astrophysical neutrinos from accelerators of cosmic rays. DeepCore will enhance IceCube's ability to identify tau neutrino events at energies of around 1 PeV. Real-time searches for such events can be used to identify astrophysical transient events associated with cosmic ray acceleration. In addition, the group is studying the feasibility of implementing an even more powerful atmospheric neutrino detector in the Antarctic ice cap, known as PINGU, which might have the ability to probe the neutrino mass hierarchy. This could provide extremely valuable input to fundamental theories of particle physics beyond the Standard Model.

Broader Impact:

The Penn State group offers a summer professional development workshop for secondary school teachers, which exposes them to forefront research in particle astrophysics. They have developed a version of the workshop focused on giving the educators a hands-on experience in operating state-of-the-art particle detectors, as well as on simpler activities and materials which can be easily used in the high school classroom. In addition, the group provides 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.

Effective start/end date9/1/128/31/16


  • National Science Foundation: $1,132,348.00


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