ANITAThe ambitious and innovative ANITA detector is designed to be the first device to identify high energy neutrinos created by collisions between cosmic rays and the the cosmic microwave photons that pervade the Universe.
This source of neutrinos creates the unprecedented opportunity to study the laws of physics at the energy frontier. At these energies, neutrino collisions with matter could produce micro-black holes, or other exotic manifestations of theories that attempt to unify all forces of Nature.
The balloon-borne payload will circle the continent of Antartica at ~35,000 meters, scanning the vast expanses of ice for telltale pulses of radio emission generated by the neutrino collisions.
How Does Anita Detect NeutrinosThe ANITA instrument detects these ultra-high energy neutrinos by use of the Askaryan effect. This effect predicts the production of a coherent radio emission from the cascade of particles produced in a high-energy particle interaction. In other words we're detecting a 'snap' in the radio frequencies caused by the interaction of our ultra-high energy neutrino.
In order to detect this radio emission (Askaryan pulses) we need a radio transparent medium for the interaction to occur in - and lots of it since these interactions are rare. Some materials that are radio transparent are salt, sand and ice. We also need a fairly radio quiet area as the Askaryan pulses are very faint signals.
ANITA has made two flights to date: once in the 2006-2007 season and again in the 2008-2009 season. ANITA is planned to fly once more in the 2013-2014 season.
Last Modified : 14:50:56 09 Nov 2011