Search for ultra high energy astrophysical neutrinos with the ANITA experiment

Romero-Wolf, Andrew Frederic
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2010]
This work describes a search for cosmogenic neutrinos at energies above 1018 eV with the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA). ANITA is a balloon-borne radio interferometer designed to measure radio impulsive emission from particle showers produced in the Antarctic ice-sheet by ultra-high energy neutrinos (UHEν). Flying at 37 km altitude the ANITA detector is sensitive to 1M km3 of ice and is expected to produce the highest exposure to ultra high energy neutrinos to date. The design, flight performance, and analysis of the first flight of ANITA in 2006 are the subject of this dissertation. Due to sparse anthropogenic backgrounds throughout the Antarctic continent, the ANITA analysis depends on high resolution directional reconstruction. An interferometric method was developed that not only provides high resolution but is also sensitive to very weak radio emissions. The results of ANITA provide the strongest constraints on current ultra-high energy neutrino models. In addition there was a serendipitous observation of ultra-high energy cosmic ray geosynchrotron emissions that are of distinct character from the expected neutrino signal. This thesis includes a study of the radio Cherenkov emission from ultra-high energy electromagnetic showers in ice in the time-domain. All previous simulations computed the radio pulse frequency spectrum. I developed a purely time-domain algorithm for computing radiation using the vector potentials of charged particle tracks. The results are fully consistent with previous frequency domain calculations and shed new light into the properties of the radio pulse in the time domain. The shape of the pulse in the time domain is directly related to the depth development of the excess charge in the shower and its width to the observation angle with respect to the Cherenkov direction. This information can be of great practical importance for interpreting actual data.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, ultra high energy astrophysical neutrinos
Access Rights
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.