Department of Physics and Astronomy

Seminar: IceCube's view on core collapse supernovae

  • Date: 3/30/2017 at 3:15 PM 4:15 PM
  • Location: Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1 Å12167
  • Lecturer: Lutz Koepke (Mainz University)
  • Website
  • Contact person: Elin Bergeås Kuutmann
  • Phone: 018-471 3828
  • Seminarium

The IceCube detector at the South Pole has detected about 500.000 O(10 MeV) neutrino interactions from supernovae at the centre of our galaxy. The seminar will discuss the implications and applications of such measurements.


Core collapse supernovae are expected to occur in our galaxy about twice per century. As the inner region of the star cannot be studied with electromagnetic probes, neutrinos provide unique insights in the internal mechanisms in place during the core collapse. By lucky timing, two dozen neutrinos from a supernovae in the Magellanic cloud were registered within 10 s by neutrino detectors. The scientific harvest was very rich: in fact, references to SN 1987A have appeared in more than 70,000 articles. In the field of particle physics, limits on the neutrino’s mass and mixing, its dipole moment and potential radiative decay could be set in addition to many stringent limits e.g. on axion or dark photon production or non-standard weak interactions. Nuclear physics would gain from a better understanding of the equation of state of the proto neutron star and the production of heavy elements, astrophysics would profit from the observation of the complex multidimensional dynamics of the collapse.

With about 500.000 recorded O(10 MeV) neutrino interactions for a supernovae at the galactic center, IceCube offers unrivaled statistical precision and will remain compatitive once HyperKamiokande is realized. Simulations that address some of the particle and astrophysical aspects discussed above will be discussed. As the signal is observed on top of a large dark rate background, IceCube cannot resolve individual events, i.e. their energy, direction and type. Investigations that help to partly remedy this situation and joint measurements of various neutrino and gravitational wave experiments will be mentioned.

IceCube was built to detect neutrinos of extragalactic origin with energies exceeding 100 GeV and more. Searches for energetic neutrinos, produced by accelerated particles crashing into surrounding matter will be briefly discussed.