New air Cherenkov light detectors to study mass composition of cosmic rays with energies above knee region

Yoshiki Tsunesada, Ryoichi Katsuya, Yu Mitsumori, Keisuke Nakayama, Fumio Kakimoto, Hisao Tokuno, Norio Tajima, Pedro Miranda, Juan Salinas, Wilfredo Tavera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have installed a hybrid detection system for air showers generated by cosmic rays with energies greater than 3×1015eV at Mount Chacaltaya (5200 m above the sea level), in order to study the mass composition of cosmic rays above the knee region. This detection system comprises an air shower array with 49 scintillation counters in an area of 500 m×650 m, and seven new Cherenkov light detectors installed in a radial direction from the center of the air shower array with a separation of 50 m. It is known that the longitudinal development of a particle cascade in the atmosphere strongly depends on the type of the primary nucleus, and an air shower initiated by a heavier nucleus develops faster than that by a lighter primary of the same energy, because of the differences in the interaction cross-section and the energy per nucleon. This can be measured by detecting the Cherenkov radiation emitted from charged particles in air showers at higher altitudes. In this paper we describe the design and performance of our new non-imaging Cherenkov light detectors at Mount Chacaltaya that are operated in conjunction with the air shower array. The arrival directions and energies of air showers are determined by the shower array, and information about the primary masses is obtained from the Cherenkov light data including the time profiles and lateral distributions. The detector consists of photomultiplier tube (PMT), high-speed ADCs, other control modules, and data storage device. The Cherenkov light signals from an air shower are typically 10-100 ns long, and the waveforms are digitized with a sampling frequency of 1 GHz and recorded in situ without long-distance analog signal transfers. All the Cherenkov light detectors record their time-series data by receiving a triggering signal transmitted from the trigger module of the air shower array, which is fired by a coincidence of shower signals in four neighboring scintillation counters. The optical characteristics of the detectors and the control and the data acquisition systems are discussed.

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the staff of the Instituto de Investigaciones Físicas, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz, Bolivia, for their support to our experiment at Mount Chacaltaya. We also acknowledge long-standing assistance from the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, University of Tokyo. This work is supported a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) (23403002) by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan .

Keywords

  • Cherenkov light detectors
  • Cosmic rays
  • Extensive air showers
  • High altitude
  • Mass composition

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