The sources of ultrahigh-energy radiation (protons and heavier nuclei) have puzzled us for more than a century. The measured energies of these charged particles show that there must be objects in the universe that can accelerate particles to up to 10 million times the energy of the most powerful terrestrial accelerators such as the LHC at CERN. However, the identity of these sources and how they work are still largely unknown because the charged particles are deflected by cosmic magnetic fields and thus cannot be traced back to their origin. The identification and investigation of these energetic objects (candidates include active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, and neutron star mergers) represents one of the central fields of research in astroparticle physics.
Unlike cosmic rays, neutrinos are electrically neutral and can therefore be traced directly to their source. They also interact only weakly and thus reach us even from very large distances and from dense sources. However, these properties also pose a great challenge for their detection. This is done indirectly by detecting the Cherenkov light produced by charged particles generated in neutrino reactions. In order to detect neutrinos or Cherenkov light, detectors with a very large instrumented volume of a transparent medium (e.g. water or ice) are required due to the low probability of alternation. One of these detectors is the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the Antarctic ice at the geographic South Pole.
Currently, two upgrades for the detector are also planned, namely IceCube Upgrade and IceCube-Gen2.
Research areas within the working group
Our research group's research regarding IceCube and its extensions can be divided into three categories, namely hardware, simulation, and analysis.