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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Neutrino's Saga - Part 7

Artist's rendering of the KM3NeT array. (Marco Kraan/Property KM3NeT Consortium)

The next experiment in neutrinos will be the KM3NeT telescope.  

The KM3NeT array would encompass an area of several cubic kilometers – will be composed of lengths of cable holding optical modules on the ends of long arms. These modules will stare at the sea floor beneath the Mediterranean in an attempt to detect the impacts of neutrinos traveling down from deep space. 

It will be the highest structure under the water, with a length superior that 800 meters.

Detection principle
The combination of the relatively low flux of high energy cosmic neutrinos and their weak interaction with matter implies the need for a very massive detector (1012 kg). One solution is to instrument a large volume of deep sea water with a three-dimensional array of optical modules, i.e. photomultiplier tubes housed in transparent pressure vessels. The neutrinos can then be detected indirectly through detection of Cerenkov light produced by charged particles (muons) emerging from neutrino interactions in the sea water or sea bed.

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