IceCube Neutrino Detecting Array
During the last decade, an international collaboration of scientists
constructed and operated the first high-energy neutrino telescope.
Completed in the year 2000, the Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector
Array (AMANDA) has transformed
part of the clear Antarctic ice sheet deep below South Pole Station
into a particle detector. AMANDA scientists positioned about 750
optical sensors deep in the ice. The occasional faint flashes
of light created by neutrinos moving through the transparent ice
are detected by these optical sensors. But theorists anticipate
that an array much larger than AMANDA's is required to study neutrinos
from distant astrophysical sources. Hence, IceCube,
which will comprise 80 strings with 60 optical sensors each, spaced
through a cubic kilometer of ice, centered almost 2 km below the
ice sheet surface.
IceCube will peer through the earth to open a new window onto the universe. Like its predecessor, AMANDA, IceCube will search for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars. The IceCube telescope is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and it could reveal new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature.
ICDS was responsible for the early design work done for the Enhanced Hot Water Drill (EHWD), which will be used to drill the 80 holes - each about 0.5 m in diameter and 2400 m deep - into which the sensor strings will be emplaced. Several ICDS engineers continued with the design and construction of the EHWD after the drill project was absorbed into the IceCube project. The EHWD will be assembled to begin drilling at the South Pole by the end of the 2004-05 field season and several ICDS personnel will assist.