Research at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory

IceCube searches for cosmic neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical phenomena in the universe - exploding supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and black holes accreting matter in the centres of active galaxies - seeking to uncover the sources of the highest energy cosmic rays.


The instruments in the detectors consist of 86 cables, each with 60 Digital Optical Modules (DOMs). Each cable is run through a hole bored through the 2½ km thick ice. The detector is located 1½ km under the surface, so the detector begins 1½ km under the surface and ends at the bottom at a depth of 2½ km.

IceCube can also detect neutrinos from dark matter particles annihilating in the Sun and elsewhere in our Galaxy. In addition, by studying neutrinos produced by cosmic ray collisions in the atmosphere, IceCube can probe the properties of the neutrinos themselves at energies far exceeding those produced by terrestrial accelerators. Of particular interest are `neutrino oscillations' whereby a neutrino changes from one 'flavor' to another as it travels through space.

The local Niels Bohr Institute group is focussed on using the DeepCore low-energy array of IceCube to study fundamental particle physics such as neutrino oscillation and the nature of dark matter. We are also invested in the Precision IceCube Next Generation Upgrade (PINGU), which aims to add more detector elements within IceCube to extend the energy range down to approx. 1 GeV.

The physics topics that may be available with PINGU are the ordering of the neutrino mass hierarchy, GeV dark matter searches, determination of non-maximal atmospheric neutrino mixing, enhanced searches for tau neutrino appearance, etc.