Calibration of the underground muon detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory
Journal of Instrumentation 16:4 (2021)
Abstract:To obtain direct measurements of the muon content of extensive air showers with energy above 101 eV, the Pierre Auger Observatory is currently being equipped with an underground muon detector (UMD), consisting of 219 10 m2-modules, each segmented into 64 scintillators coupled to silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs). Direct access to the shower muon content allows for the study of both of the composition of primary cosmic rays and of high-energy hadronic interactions in the forward direction. As the muon density can vary between tens of muons per m close to the intersection of the shower axis with the ground to much less than one per m when far away, the necessary broad dynamic range is achieved by the simultaneous implementation of two acquisition modes in the read-out electronics: the binary mode, tuned to count single muons, and the ADC mode, suited to measure a high number of them. In this work, we present the end-to-end calibration of the muon detector modules: first, the SiPMs are calibrated by means of the binary channel, and then, the ADC channel is calibrated using atmospheric muons, detected in parallel to the shower data acquisition. The laboratory and field measurements performed to develop the implementation of the full calibration chain of both binary and ADC channels are presented and discussed. The calibration procedure is reliable to work with the high amount of channels in the UMD, which will be operated continuously, in changing environmental conditions, for several years.
Measurement of the Fluctuations in the Number of Muons in Extensive Air Showers with the Pierre Auger Observatory.
Physical review letters 126:15 (2021) 152002
Abstract:We present the first measurement of the fluctuations in the number of muons in extensive air showers produced by ultrahigh energy cosmic rays. We find that the measured fluctuations are in good agreement with predictions from air shower simulations. This observation provides new insights into the origin of the previously reported deficit of muons in air shower simulations and constrains models of hadronic interactions at ultrahigh energies. Our measurement is compatible with the muon deficit originating from small deviations in the predictions from hadronic interaction models of particle production that accumulate as the showers develop.
Sensitivity of the Cherenkov Telescope Array for probing cosmology and fundamental physics with gamma-ray propagation
JOURNAL OF COSMOLOGY AND ASTROPARTICLE PHYSICS IOP Publishing 2021:2 (2021) 48
Abstract:The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the new-generation ground-based observatory for γ astronomy, provides unique capabilities to address significant open questions in astrophysics, cosmology, and fundamental physics. We study some of the salient areas of γ cosmology that can be explored as part of the Key Science Projects of CTA, through simulated observations of active galactic nuclei (AGN) and of their relativistic jets. Observations of AGN with CTA will enable a measurement of γ absorption on the extragalactic background light with a statistical uncertainty below 15% up to a redshift z=2 and to constrain or detect γ halos up to intergalactic-magnetic-field strengths of at least 0.3 pG . Extragalactic observations with CTA also show promising potential to probe physics beyond the Standard Model. The best limits on Lorentz invariance violation from γ astronomy will be improved by a factor of at least two to three. CTA will also probe the parameter space in which axion-like particles could constitute a significant fraction, if not all, of dark matter. We conclude on the synergies between CTA and other upcoming facilities that will foster the growth of γ cosmology.
Sensitivity of the Cherenkov Telescope Array to a dark matter signal from the Galactic centre
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics IOP Publishing 2021:1 (2021) 057-057
Abstract:© 2021 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd on behalf of Sissa Medialab. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. We provide an updated assessment of the power of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) to search for thermally produced dark matter at the TeV scale, via the associated gamma-ray signal from pair-annihilating dark matter particles in the region around the Galactic centre. We find that CTA will open a new window of discovery potential, significantly extending the range of robustly testable models given a standard cuspy profile of the dark matter density distribution. Importantly, even for a cored profile, the projected sensitivity of CTA will be sufficient to probe various well-motivated models of thermally produced dark matter at the TeV scale. This is due to CTA's unprecedented sensitivity, angular and energy resolutions, and the planned observational strategy. The survey of the inner Galaxy will cover a much larger region than corresponding previous observational campaigns with imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes. CTA will map with unprecedented precision the large-scale diffuse emission in high-energy gamma rays, constituting a background for dark matter searches for which we adopt state-of-the-art models based on current data. Throughout our analysis, we use up-to-date event reconstruction Monte Carlo tools developed by the CTA consortium, and pay special attention to quantifying the level of instrumental systematic uncertainties, as well as background template systematic errors, required to probe thermally produced dark matter at these energies.
Design, upgrade and characterization of the silicon photomultiplier front-end for the AMIGA detector at the Pierre Auger Observatory
Journal of Instrumentation 16:1 (2021)