CCAPP Seminar - Steven Prohira (University of Kansas) "Radio interactions with particle-shower-plasmas: implications for high-energy neutrino detection"

January 12, 2018
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 11:30am to 12:30pm
4138 Physics Research Building

   The collision of a high-energy particle with stationary matter, such as ice, results in a shower of secondary particles. As these secondary particles traverse the interaction medium, cold ionization electrons are produced. For high enough primary particle energies, this cloud of ionization electrons is dense enough to form a tenuous plasma which will reflect radio-frequency (RF) energy. As such, RF scatter techniques have been proposed as a robust technology to remotely detect high-energy particle interactions, by illuminating a detection volume with RF energy and remotely monitoring the same volume for a reflected RF signal from a particle-shower plasma (PSP). These high-energy particles can be ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHECR) in air or neutrinos in a dense medium, such as ice. This talk will discuss past experimental efforts to detect such reflections, both in the laboratory and the field. I will address the various models put forth for the RF/PSP interactions. I will then discuss the exciting prospects of a future detector for in-ice radio-scatter detection of high energy neutrino cascades, and the advantages of this method over current RF-based detection schemes. Finally, an upcoming laboratory measurement at SLAC to test the validity of our new scattering model will be introduced. 

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