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A prototype station for ARIANNA: a detector for cosmic neutrinos

Abstract

The Antarctic Ross Iceshelf Antenna Neutrino Array (ARIANNA) is a proposed detector for ultra-high energy astrophysical neutrinos. It will detect coherent radio Cherenkov emission from the particle showers produced by neutrinos with energies above about 1017 eV. ARIANNA will be built on the Ross Ice Shelf just off the coast of Antarctica, where it will eventually cover about 900 km2 in surface area. There, the ice-water interface below the shelf reflects radio waves, giving ARIANNA sensitivity to downward going neutrinos and improving its sensitivity to horizontally incident neutrinos. ARIANNA detector stations will each contain 4-8 antennas which search for brief pulses of 50 MHz to 1 GHz radio emission from neutrino interactions. We describe a prototype station for ARIANNA which was deployed in Moore's Bay on the Ross Ice Shelf in December 2009, discuss the design and deployment, and present some initial figures on performance. The ice shelf thickness was measured to be 572 +- 6 m at the deployment site.

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