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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Mathematisch-Naturwissen­schaft­liche Fakultät - Experimentelle Elementarteilchenphysik


Neutrino astronomy

Neutrino astronomy is part of the rapidly developing field of astroparticle physics. The mission is the discovery and investigation of cosmic violent processes leading to the production of high-energy neutrinos. These sources are intematly connected to the sources of cosmic rays, which people have been searching for since a century. Good candidates are phenomena like supernova remnantsactive galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts. However, even after several decades of observations the picture remains unclear. Observation of cosmic neutrino sources would bring us a major step forward in solving this mystery, but as neutrinos interact only weakly, these sources have remained hidden to us up to now. 

The IceCube neutrino observatory is the largest and by far most sensitive detector for these high-energy neutrinos worldwide with a good chance to detect the first cosmic neutrino sources in the next years. 

SN 1006

Supernova SN 1006: Composite view including X-ray data from Chandra Observatory (blue), optical data (yellow) and radio image (red).

Activities at Humboldt:

  • Searches for point-like sources: This is one of the main topics for neutrino telescopes. Apart from general searches where the whole sky is scanned for an excess of detected events above the background, several candidate classes are investigated following the multi-messenger approach. For example, observations of gamma-ray bursts with satellites are used to define the position and time window for a corresponding search in neutrinos thus improving the signal to background ratio.
  • Reconstruction: An effective selection and reconstruction of events in the detector is the prerequisite for any sensitive analysis. The group investigates new ideas and strategies for the reconstruction of muons produced in the interaction of muon neutrinos and works on improving existing ones.
  • Source modeling: The interpretation of the results from the various detectors and wavelengths requires a detailed modeling of the processes in the sources. Our group has been working on determination of neutrino fluxes and detector rates from Galactic sources and gamma-ray bursts.
  • Other interesting topics like shower reconstruction, neutrino oscillation and search for monopoles are investigated by the IceCube group at DESY-Zeuthen.