Investigating cosmic rays and air shower physics with IceCube/IceTop
1 Bartol Institute, University of Delaware, 217 Sharp Lab, 19716 Newark, USA
2 Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics, PO Box 103980, 69029 Heidelberg, Germany
Published online: 26 June 2017
IceCube is a cubic-kilometer detector in the deep ice at South Pole. Its square-kilometer surface array, IceTop, is located at 2800 m altitude. IceTop is large and dense enough to cover the cosmic-ray energy spectrum from PeV to EeV energies with a remarkably small systematic uncertainty, thanks to being close to the shower maximum. The experiment offers new insights into hadronic physics of air showers by observing three components: the electromagnetic signal at the surface, GeV muons in the periphery of the showers, and TeV muons in the deep ice. The cosmic-ray flux is measured with the surface signal. The mass composition is extracted from the energy loss of TeV muons observed in the deep ice in coincidence with signals at the surface. The muon lateral distribution is obtained from GeV muons identified in surface signals in the periphery of the shower. The energy spectrum of the most energetic TeV muons is also under study, as well as special events with laterally separated TeV muon tracks which originate from high-pT TeV muons. A combination of all these measurements opens the possibility to perform powerful new tests of hadronic interaction models used to simulate air showers. The latest results will be reviewed from this perspective.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences 2016
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).