cosmic rays

Neutrino astroparticle physics >

The neutrino astroparticle physics activities at Nikhef are focused on the development of high-energy neutrino telescopes. These telescopes are used to search for cosmic neutrinos, which - once detected - will provide us with crucial information on the origin of cosmic rays and the nature of the dark matter.

Nikhef is playing a central role in the development of deep-sea neutrino telescopes that are being built at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea (Antares and KM3NeT). These telescopes will observe the Cherenkov light emitted by relativistic muons that are produced when a cosmic neutrino interacts with a proton inside the Earth or the sea surrounding the telescope. The Earth is used as a converter and filter of cosmic neutrinos.

The Antares neutrino telescope is operational since early 2007. It is being used for first exploratory studies including searches for neutrinos that originate from Gamma Ray Bursts. The Nikhef Astroparticle Physics Group is specialized in the development of dedicated trigger algorithms for this software telescope.

At the same time the Nikhef group is involved in the design, development and construction of a next generation neutrino telescope, KM3NeT. This telescope will surpass Antares by a factor of twenty or more, and is expected to be built in the next decade.