Saturday, 7 July 2007

Super-Kamiokande

It is believed soon after the big bang, when the universe was at a very high temperature, many neutrinos were produced. In addition, when a star explodes as a supernova, many neutrinos are emitted. Neutrinos are also copiously produced in nuclear reactions in the core of the sun. Also cosmic rays which come into the earth's atmosphere and interact with oxygen or nitrogen nuclei produce neutrinos. Purposes of the research are to elucidate the source of energy of the sun and detect the properties of the enigmatic neutrinos by observing these neutrinos with considerable precision.The detector consists of an inner volume and an outer volume which contain 32,000 tons and 18,000 tons of pure water respectively. The outer detector is used to veto entering cosmic ray muons and is used as a buffer to keep radiation emitted by the surrounding rock and walls from entering the inner volume. The inner detector has 11,200 photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) attached to the bottom, top and sides facing inward. The PMTs collect the pale blue light called Cerenkov light which is emitted by particles travelling fast as light in the water. By measuring the direction and intensity of this light,information about particle interactions such as neutrino interactions or proton decay can be determined (Official Website).

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