IceCube and its predecessor, the Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array (AMANDA), are poised to begin realizing their full potential as discovery instruments. Designed to detect and reconstruct ultrahigh energy neutrinos at energy scales that extend well beyond those attainable with modern accelerators, these neutrino telescopes will enable particle astrophysicists to peer into the hearts of some of the densest, most energetic phenomena in the universe, such as gamma ray bursts and active galactic nuclei, believed to be powered by supermassive black holes. The instruments are also sensitive to possible nearby dark matter annihilations, the detection of which would have a profound impact on our understanding of the composition and life-cycle of the universe. Consisting of widely-spaced three-dimensional arrays of photomultiplier tubes deeply buried in the exceptionally clear ice at the South Pole, the instruments are sensitive to a wide variety of other energetic and rare phenomena as well.
We aim to exploit the considerable discovery potential of IceCube, and in particular to analyze the rich dataset that will be provided by the combined IceCube and AMANDA detectors during the next few years of full-fledged IceCube data-taking. During this time, we will have a detector that is more than an order of magnitude larger than any other existing comparable detector. At Penn State, we will use this world-class device to measure the flux of atmospheric electron neutrinos at high energies and search for deviations from the expected spectrum as evidence of new physics, to search for ultrahigh energy neutrinos from transient sources, and to develop techniques to detect tau neutrinos, which are excellent indicators of extragalactic origin. We will also explore the use of specialized high-performance, high-memory computational facilities available at Penn State, which may offer significant benefits for physics analysis. Finally, in collaboration with several colleagues at Penn State, we will be developing and offering a series of professional development workshops for high school teachers, to illustrate the connections between our particle astrophysics research and core science concepts taught as part of national and state science standards, and to give teachers ideas for bringing this research into the classroom.
|Effective start/end date||8/15/06 → 7/31/10|
- National Science Foundation: $750,000.00