Research: High energy
(astro-) particle physics
Main goal is to discover
high energy neutrinos from the
establish a new observational window.
for neutrinos from the most violent
like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts
cataclysmic phenomena involving black
and neutron stars
Neutrino telescopes are powerful tools to search for dark matter
, and could reveal
the new physical processes associated with the still enigmatic
origin of the highest energy particles in nature.
We are participating in the IceCube
neutrino observatory at the South Pole. IceCube is the world
largest and most sensitive instrument for h
energy extraterrestrial neutrinos. It is an ice Cherenkov detector
of more than 1 Gton mass and 1km3 size.
Our main research
- search for diffuse fluxes of cosmic neutrinos
at high energies
- point sources
of high energy cosmic neutrinos
high energy physics of atmospheric
Neutrinos are enigmatic elementary
particles which are almost invisible but allow a very clean and
distinct view into the subatomic world. Oscillations of
neutrinos are strong evidence for new physics beyond the
Our goal is to measure fundamental neutrino properties:
Measurement of the fundmental and unknown mixing angle q13 physics
with the Double-Chooz Neutrino
Reactor Neutrino Oscillation Experiment at the Chooz
nuclear reactor in France.
- The RWTH group is participating in the construction of the
detectors, the trigger and the data analysis.
- Measurement of oscillations
of atmospheric neutrinos with IceCube. Atmospheric
neutrinos provide a unique beam to measure oscillations of
atmospheric neutrinos with oscillation lengths from a few km
to the whole diameter of the Earth. The in particular the low
energy sub-detector DeepCore
is an ideal instrument to measure oscillation effects
in a previously unexplored energy range
search for dark matter
There is overwhelming evidence for the existence of dark matter in the universe
but its constituents and the corresponding particle have not been
identified to date.
Annihilation or decay of weakly
interacting massive particles (WIMPS) can result in high
energy neutrinos. We search for neutrino signals from the
direction of the galactic center
and for diffuse signals from the galactic halo with IceCube and DeepCore.
4. Cosmic ray
The origin of cosmic rays
is unknown. A key in understanding the sources is, aside of the
measurement by neutrinos, to measure the composition. A
particularly interesting energy region is ~1017.5 eV
where the transition from galactic to extra-galactic source may
occur. With IceTop, the
surface air shower detector of IceCube, we measure the particles
on the surface and muons deep in the ice which allows to deduce
the composition in this interesting energy region.
With the Radio Air Shower
test Array (RASTA) we want to explore the feasibility to
enlarge the surface detector IceTop
with radio antennas.
This could allow the additional measurement of the shower
development in the atmosphere and would turn IceCube into a
world-wide unique observatory for cosmic rays, which could
simultaneously measure many independent observables of air showers.
We research on new detection methods for cosmic
rays and neutrinos and participate in the following
- Development of radio
antennas for the detection of air showers at the South
Pole (within the RASTA project)
- Acoustic detection of ultra
high energy neutrinos.
We explore methods how neutrino detectors of 100-1000 km3 size
could be realized. One possibility is the detection of
thermoacoustic signals from neutrino interaction in ice.
We have installed the South
Pole Acoustic Test Setup (SPATS) at the South Pole.
This is an array of acoustic sensors in the IceCube holes at
shallow depth which is operating since 2007.
The main goals are to measure if the Antarctic ice can be used
for acoustic neutrino detection.
The group at the RWTH has set up a unique laboratory
infrastructure for this R&D project: The Aachen Acoustic Laboratory (AAL).
Central element is a large 3m3 Volume of clear bubble
free which is equipped with acoustic sensors and a Laser system.
Main task of AAL are:
- detailed investigation the thermoacoustic effect in
- develop highly sensitive acoustic detectors for neutrino
detection in ice
- absolute calibration acoustic sensors in ice
- Enceladus Explorer (EnEx): Development
of an acoustic navigation system. for an autonomous ice drill, IceMole.
This is a spin-off project in which we want to install sensors
developed for neutrino detection in the drill head of the
IceMole. By acoustic
triangulation we want to monitor the IceMole's position
and with a phased array to explore the surrounding environment.
Long term goal is to develop an icecraft which allows to probe subgalcial lakes on moons
or Europa in the solar system.
First setp is to develop a vehicle for teresstrial subglacial
It is planned to probe within 3 years the subglacial lake at the
Taylor glacier in
Antarctica which feeds the so called blood falls.
This project is funded by the German space
beyond the standard model
Our experiments are probing nature in previously unexplored
regions. In particular the large IceCube detector is the largest
ever built neutrino experiment and may discover new and not
of analyses and searches which we perform in our group are
- Search for ultra-heavy
magnetic monopoles may remain as topological defects from the
era of the Big Bang. IceCube
is an ideal instrument to search for slowly moving
heavy monopoles which would catalyze proton decays along their
additional sterile neutrinos
exist with masses in the eV range and mix with regular
neutrinos they would manifest in a distortion of the angular
distribution of atmospheric neutrinos at TeV energies. IceCube is an ideal
detector to search for such signatures.
- Search for
dark matter (see
- ..... Everything else which looks exciting and promising to
Our projects are
supported by the
participating in the Helmhotz
Alliance on Astroparticle physics (HAP) founded by the
participating in the Doctoral Research School
Particle and Astroparticle Physics in the Light of LHC
funded by the DFG
Last change 07.3.2012