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Thesis Defense
Measuring the Atmospheric Neutrino Oscillation Parameters with IceCube DeepCore
Date: Wednesday, August 24th
Time: 2:00 pm
Place: Chamberlin 4274
Speaker: Kayla DeHolton , Physics PhD Graduate Student
Abstract: The discovery of neutrino oscillations (and consequently the implication that neutrinos have mass) is one of the only confirmed pieces of evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model. Since this discovery, there has been a worldwide effort to measure the model parameters that describe these oscillations. The DeepCore sub-array within the IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a densely instrumented detector embedded in the Antarctic ice at the South Pole and detects Cherenkov light from the interactions of atmospheric neutrinos with energies down to 5 GeV. At these energies, Earth-crossing muon neutrinos have a high chance of oscillating to tau neutrinos. DeepCore is able to measure these oscillations with precision comparable to accelerator-based experiments, but it is also complementary to accelerator measurements because it probes longer distance scales and higher energies, peaking above the tau lepton production threshold. This dissertation presents the effort involved in curating one of the largest neutrino oscillation datasets in the world, with over 200,000 events spanning almost 10 years and a neutrino purity of over 99%. The nearly unprecedented level of statistics also requires unprecedented precision in the treatment of systematic uncertainties and other analysis techniques. I will present the status of an analysis to measure the atmospheric neutrino oscillation parameters using the full dataset, as well as the unblinded results of a measurement performed with a sub-sample containing 20% of the full dataset.
Host: Francis Halzen
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