2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Collaborative Research: MRI-R2 instrument development of the Askaryan Radio Array, a large-scale radio Cherenkov neutrino detector at the South Pole

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili


ASC POC/Implementer:
Elizabeth Watson / Paul Sullivan

Dr. Albrecht Karle (Principal Investigator)
http://ara.physics.wisc.eduExternal Non U.S. Government Site

University of Wisconsin Madison
Department of Physics
Madison, Wisconsin

Supporting Stations:  South Pole Station
Research Locations:  Dark Sector

Project Description:
Dr. Karle and his international collaborators will probe the nature and cosmic evolution of the accelerators of the highest-energy cosmic rays by observing ultra-high-energy neutrinos produced when cosmic rays interact with the microwave background. At these very high energies, neutrinos can be detected in dense, radio-frequency-transparent media, such as ice, by the Askaryan effect. Its origin is an excess negative charge that builds up when electrons are swept out along a shower front advancing relativistically through the ice. The thickness (estimated to be almost two miles) and exceptional radio-frequency clarity makes the south polar ice cap an ideal place to study ultra high energy neutrinos. This project will develop and deploy a limited number of radio detector stations which will provide the basis for development of a much larger array. The work builds upon past and current neutrino observations including the IceCube and AMANDA Cherenkov observatories and the RICE and ANITA radio Askaryan telescopes in Antarctica as well as the Pierre Auger cosmic ray observatory in western Argentina.

Field Season Overview:
During the 2012-13 Austral summer, two ARA stations will be deployed in the ice approximately four kilometers grid-west from the IceCube Lab (ICL). A cable will connect the stations to the existing wind turbine at location WT3. Each station comprises six holes of 6-inch diameter drilled to a depth of 200 meters. The holes will be pumped dry. Detectors will be deployed into the bottom 25 meters of each hole. Four antennas and data acquisition equipment (DAQ) will be installed at the surface. Each station will be calibrated and an additional two calibration holes will be drilled 300 meters and 600 meters from ARA2. A remote power system comprising a wind turbine, solar panels and backup batteries will be installed at ARA 1 (deployed in 2011-12). Maintenance will be performed on the existing remote power installations.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Terry Benson
  • Chih-ching Chen
  • Jonathan Davies
  • Michael DuVernois
  • Darrell Hamilton
  • Yael Hagar Landsman
  • Yael Hagar Landsman
  • Thomas Meures
  • Christian Miki
  • Jiwoo Nam
  • David Pernic
  • Ken Ratzlaff
  • Michael Richman
  • Robert Young

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Office of Polar Programs