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Measurement of the multi-TeV neutrino interaction cross-section with IceCube using Earth absorption

  • Author(s): Aartsen, MG
  • Hill, GC
  • Kyriacou, A
  • Robertson, S
  • Wallace, A
  • Whelan, BJ
  • Ackermann, M
  • Bernardini, E
  • Blot, S
  • Bradascio, F
  • Bretz, HP
  • Brostean-Kaiser, J
  • Franckowiak, A
  • Jacobi, E
  • Karg, T
  • Kintscher, T
  • Kunwar, S
  • Nahnhauer, R
  • Satalecka, K
  • Spiering, C
  • Stachurska, J
  • Stasik, A
  • Strotjohann, NL
  • Terliuk, A
  • Usner, M
  • Van Santen, J
  • Adams, J
  • Bagherpour, H
  • Aguilar, JA
  • Ansseau, I
  • Heereman, D
  • Meagher, K
  • Meures, T
  • O'Murchadha, A
  • Pinat, E
  • Raab, C
  • Ahlers, M
  • Koskinen, DJ
  • Larson, MJ
  • Medici, M
  • Rameez, M
  • Ahrens, M
  • Bohm, C
  • Dumm, JP
  • Finley, C
  • Flis, S
  • Hultqvist, K
  • Walck, C
  • Zoll, M
  • Al Samarai, I
  • Bron, S
  • Carver, T
  • Christov, A
  • Montaruli, T
  • Altmann, D
  • Anton, G
  • Gl'senkamp, T
  • Katz, U
  • Kittler, T
  • Tselengidou, M
  • Andeen, K
  • Plum, M
  • Anderson, T
  • DeLaunay, JJ
  • Dunkman, M
  • Eller, P
  • Huang, F
  • Keivani, A
  • Lanfranchi, JL
  • Pankova, DV
  • Te'ic, G
  • Turley, CF
  • Weiss, MJ
  • Arg'elles, C
  • Axani, S
  • Collin, GH
  • Conrad, JM
  • Moulai, M
  • Auffenberg, J
  • Brenzke, M
  • Glauch, T
  • Haack, C
  • Kalaczynski, P
  • Koschinsky, JP
  • Leuermann, M
  • R'del, L
  • Reimann, R
  • Rongen, M
  • S'lzer, T
  • Schoenen, S
  • Schumacher, L
  • Stettner, J
  • et al.
Abstract

Neutrinos interact only very weakly, so they are extremely penetrating. The theoretical neutrino-nucleon interaction cross-section, however, increases with increasing neutrino energy, and neutrinos with energies above 40 teraelectronvolts (TeV) are expected to be absorbed as they pass through the Earth. Experimentally, the cross-section has been determined only at the relatively low energies (below 0.4 TeV) that are available at neutrino beams from accelerators. Here we report a measurement of neutrino absorption by the Earth using a sample of 10,784 energetic upward-going neutrino-induced muons. The flux of high-energy neutrinos transiting long paths through the Earth is attenuated compared to a reference sample that follows shorter trajectories. Using a fit to the two-dimensional distribution of muon energy and zenith angle, we determine the neutrino-nucleon interaction cross-section for neutrino energies 6.3-980 TeV, more than an order of magnitude higher than previous measurements. The measured cross-section is about 1.3 times the prediction of the standard model, consistent with the expectations for charged- and neutral-current interactions. We do not observe a large increase in the cross-section with neutrino energy, in contrast with the predictions of some theoretical models, including those invoking more compact spatial dimensions or the production of leptoquarks. This cross-section measurement can be used to set limits on the existence of some hypothesized beyond-standard-model particles, including leptoquarks.

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