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Stafford, Samuel JA Search for Ultra-high Energy Cosmic Neutrinos: Data Analysis of the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, Third Flight
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2017, Physics
Ultra-high Energy (UHE) neutrinos represent an increasingly important messenger in astronomy and astrophysics. The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) experiment campaign utilizes a balloon-borne phased antenna array to detect coherent Cherenkov radio-frequency pulses induced by UHE neutrinos interacting with the Antarctic ice. We analyzed the data from the third ANITA flight (ANITA-III) for evidence of Ultra-high energy neutrinos by augmenting interferometric methods used in analyses of previous ANITA flights. Continuous wave (CW) radio content from ground-based Antarctic habitations and orbiting geostationary communications satellites interferes with the detection and analysis of neutrino-induced radio signals; we developed circular polarization analysis methods to facilitate improved rejection of false positives induced by satellite CW. We also developed new methods of calculating signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of event waveforms, and enhanced event localization by applying a probability distribution function (PDF) based on the measured resolution of our interferometry. We developed a final linear discriminant cut for rejecting thermal and anthropogenic signals by dividing the continent into equal-area bins and optimizing the cut to each individual bin, so as to obtain the strongest possible the upper limit on cosmic neutrino flux.

Committee:

James Beatty, PhD (Advisor); John Beacom, PhD (Committee Member); Amy Connolly, PhD (Committee Member); Richard Kass, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Astrophysics; Physics

Keywords:

neutrinos; interferometry; radio; antarctica; ANITA; antarctic impulsive transient antenna; ultra high energy neutrinos; astroparticle physics; askaryan;