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Ultra-High Energy Neutrinos

21 Jul 2018

PhD Programme for ANITA/ARA (2017-2020)

ANITA and ARA are both searching for ultra-high energy neutrinos using the Askaryan effect. Both experiments are on the verge of a new experimental era and will represent the leading experiments in the search of ultra-high energy neutrinos of cosmogenic origin. If detected these neutrinos could be used to probe fundamental physics at energy scales inaccessible to terrestrial accelerator based experiments. In particular the study of neutrino flavour mixing over cosmological distance scales, is sensitive to many beyond the standard model theories such as Lorentz violation.

The ARA experiment will be installing three new stations in 2018, and upgrading two of the stations which are already in operation at the South Pole. Whilst ANITA-5 is proposing a launch in Antarctica, including an entirely new suite of triggering and digitisation electronics in December 2019. The student will spend the first 18 months of the PhD working on the commissioning of the ANITA-5 electronics and data-acquisition system. These components need to be operational and tested before the planned ANITA integration in Summer 2019. The electronics are being developed in a collaboration between University of Hawaii, Ohio State University and University of Chicago. The student will be expected to take a leading role in the development of the data acquisition software which is critical to the success of the experiment. Following a flight in December 2019, the student will spend the remainder of the 3.5 year PhD analysing the data searching for ultra-high energy neutrino and cosmic ray signals in the data. This analysis requires first performing a pico-second level calibration of the time bases of the digitisation electronics, followed by the development of algorithms using modern data processing techniques to distinguish interesting signal events from the background of thermal and anthropogenic noise.

The project will be supervised by Prof. Ryan Nichol.