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Icecube at the South Pole

From research conducted at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Photo IceCube

Checking the sensors one last time before they are lowered into the ice. Photo/Graphic: DESY.Read more

Photo Lowering IceCube

Photo/Graphic: DESY.Read more

Deep beneath the US-run Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, an international team has installed highly sensitive light sensors in almost one cubic kilometre of ice.

The sensors are designed to measure the feeble blue light flashes caused by reactions of high-energy neutrinos. The search for these “ghost particles” is particularly difficult because neutrinos barely interact with the materials they pass through. The installation of the “IceCube” neutrino telescope took six years and was completed in December 2010. IceCube is around 30 times more sensitive than its predecessor, AMANDA, and offers the first real prospects of detecting high-energy neutrinos from distant galaxies and gathering information about supernovas and other cosmic phenomena.

A quarter of the more than 5,000 optical sensors were provided by German research groups and assembled and tested at the DESY centre in Zeuthen. The project is run by an international consortium led by the US National Science Foundation (NSF).


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