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Upper limit on the diffuse flux of UHE tau neutrinos from the Pierre Auger Observatory

Abstract : Through the last years, the observation of ultra-high energy (UHE) neutrinos has become one of the challenges of astroparticle physics. Many models, either astrophysical or exotic models, predict a substantial flux of neutrinos. One of the most certain contribution to this neutrino flux are the so-called GZK-neutrinos produced in the decay of pions and kaons, from the interaction of ultra-high energy protons with the CMB. Such a mechanism provides a substantial flux of muon and electron neutrinos at the point of interaction. But given the large distances traveled by the particles, an observer can expect equal fluxes of electron, muon and tau neutrinos at the observation point, due to flavour mixing and neutrino oscillations. During the last years, an increasing effort has been put forward to develop a new generation of dedicated neutrino telescopes, both in the southern (Amanda,IceCube) and the northen hemisphere (Baïkal, Antares). Such detectors are relevant for an energy range of 1E-6 to 1E-1 EeV. An Ultra-high energy cosmic-ray detector such as the Pierre Auger Observatory, although it was not developed for the detection of neutrinos, may have equal or even better potential in the UHE range of 1E-1 to 1E2 EeV, where the GZK-neutrinos are expected. In fact, it has been pointed out recently that the detection potential could be enhanced by the presence of tau neutrinos, due to oscillations, in the cosmic neutrinos flux. Upward-going UHE tau neutrinos that graze the Earth just below the horizon (also called "Earth-skimming neutrinos") have a quite high probability to interact in the crust and produce a tau lepton which, if produced close enough from the surface, may emerge and trigger an extensive air shower which may be detected by the surface detector array of the Pierre Auger Observatory, provided it does not decay too far from the ground. This detection channel has been studied precisely and based on the data collected between January 2004 and August 2007, an upper limit on the diffuse flux of neutrinos in the EeV range has been published. We will briefly explain the study of UHE tau neutrinos at the Pierre Auger Observatory and present the results of the collaboration.
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http://hal.in2p3.fr/in2p3-00325071
Contributor : Emmanuelle Vernay <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 26, 2008 - 10:33:15 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 12:58:39 PM

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  • HAL Id : in2p3-00325071, version 1

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K. Payet. Upper limit on the diffuse flux of UHE tau neutrinos from the Pierre Auger Observatory. Semaine de l'Astrophysique Française - Journées de la SF2A 2008, Jun 2008, Paris, France. pp.255. ⟨in2p3-00325071⟩

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