Search for neutrinos from transient sources with the ANTARES neutrino telescope and optical follow-up observations - Development of hemispheric hybrid photomultipliers for astroparticle experiments

Abstract : Astroparticle experiments are being developed with the aim of resolving the mystery of cosmic rays. Questions like from where cosmic rays originate or how do they get accelerated up to ultra high energies are still unresolved. Cherenkov telescopes like ANTARES detect the Cherenkov light emitted by muons propagating in sea water. Muons are produced by the interaction of cosmic neutrinos (signal) or atmospheric neutrinos (noise) with the Earth nuclei. In order to offer the best detection conditions of Cherenkov light, and subsequently ensure a good reconstruction quality of the muons trajectory, the light sensors i.e the photomultipliers must satisfy various conditions. The first part of this thesis focuses on the development of photomultipliers using crystals as a preamplifier of the light signal. The advantage of such a method is the possibility to separate individual photo-electrons and to enhance the temporal resolution by applying a high electric field. The design and conception as well as the possibility to produce such devices at large industrial scales is for the first time developed in this thesis. The second part of the thesis is inspired from the new multi-messenger approach in ANTARES. An optical follow-up with six telescopes spread over the two hemispheres is triggered by the detection of a high energy neutrino or a set of neutrinos coincident in time and direction. Such a system enhances the sensitivity to transient sources such as Gamma Rays Bursts or Core Collapse Supernovae. The neutrino alert system is now fully operational. The system offers good performances; the optical follow-up starts within one minute from the neutrino detection and the median angular accuracy of the reconstructed neutrinos is 0.4◦. Upon the reception of an alert, the telescopes point at the neutrino direction and start the acquisition of image series almost each night of the month follow- ing the neutrino alert. Image analysis tools have been implemented to search for optical transients and first results on the search of GRB optical counterparts correlated with a neutrino signal are presented.
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Imen Al Samarai. Search for neutrinos from transient sources with the ANTARES neutrino telescope and optical follow-up observations - Development of hemispheric hybrid photomultipliers for astroparticle experiments . High Energy Physics - Experiment [hep-ex]. UNIVERSITÉ DE LA MÉDITERRANÉE AIX-MARSEILLE II, 2011. English. ⟨tel-01285589⟩

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