Extraterrestrial neutrinos can initiate deeply developing air showers, and those that traverse the atmosphere unscathed may produce cascades in the ice or water. Up to now, no such events have been observed. This can be translated into upper limits on the diffuse neutrino flux. On the other hand, the observation of cosmic rays with primary energies >1010 GeV suggests that there is a guaranteed flux of cosmogenic neutrinos, arising from the decay of charged pions (and their muon daughters) produced in proton interactions with the cosmic microwave background. In this work, armed with these cosmogenic neutrinos and the increased exposure of neutrino telescopes, we obtain up-to-date model independent upper bounds on the neutrino-nucleon inelastic cross section. Uncertainties in the cosmogenic neutrino flux are discussed and taken into account in our analysis. The prospects for improving these bounds with the Pierre Auger Observatory are also estimated. The unprecedented statistics to be collected by this experiment in 6 yr of operation will probe the neutrino-nucleon inelastic cross section at the level of Standard Model predictions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics