A search for ultra-high energy neutrinos with AMANDA-II
Abstract: High-energy neutrinos are capable of carrying information over vast distances, and neutrino telescopes such as AMANDA-II provide the means to probe deep inside the violent and energetic interior of the universe. AMANDA-II is located in the glacial ice at South Pole in Antarctica and is optimised to detect Cherenkov emission from neutrino-induced muon tracks with energies above 100 GeV. Data acquired in 2003 with the AMANDA-II detector were searched for a non-localised flux of neutrinos with energies in excess of 1 PeV. Because of the energy dependence of the neutrino mean free path, the Earth is essentially opaque to neutrinos above PeV energies. Combined with the limited overburden of the AMANDA-II detector (about 1.5 km), this means that a potential ultra-high energy neutrino signal will be concentrated at the horizon. The background for the analysis consists of large bundles of muons produced in atmospheric air showers. Owing to their energy losses, muons cannot penetrate the Earth, and the background will be downwards moving. After applying different selection criteria, one event was observed in the final data sample, while 0.16±0.04 background events are expected. The corresponding 90% confidence level upper limit is 4.3. The expected number of neutrino signal events for a 10-6 E-2 GeV/(s sr cm2 ) flux assuming a Φ(νe) : Φ(νμ) : Φ(ντ) = 1:1:1 flavour ratio is 4.1±0.2, yielding an upper limit on the all-flavour neutrino flux of E2 Φ90 ≤ 1.1∙10-6 GeV/(s sr cm2 ), including systematics and with the central 90% of the signal found in the energy range 480 TeV - 1.6 EeV.
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