Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Neutrino Geophysics and Nuclear Monitoring with Underwater Antineutrino Detectors

Gene Guillian
University of Hawaii

Thursday, November 17, 2005
11:00 AM @ Stirling 201


Neutrinos produced by the radioactive decay of Uranium and Thorium in Earth provide exciting new information about deep-Earth geochemistry. The KamLAND experiment in Kamioka, Japan, recently made the first ever positive detection of these so-called "geo-neutrinos". Their measurement, however, is not very precise for a variety of reasons, such as large background contamination from commercial nuclear reactors, background from radon in the mine air, and the geological ambiguities that result from Japan's location at the edge of a large continent. As a logical next step in this new field of neutrino geophysics, we at the University of Hawaii, Manoa have begun a new initiative called "Hano Hano", or Hawaii Antineutrino Observatory. Hawaii's location at the middle of the Pacific Ocean makes it ideal for geoneutrino measurements because of low background, and because the simple geological structure of the area. The antineutrino detector is to be placed below a depth of 2 km in the ocean to shield against cosmic rays. If the underwater antineutrino detector turns out to be robust, one can envision deploying a large number of them for the purpose of nuclear monitoring. Given the seemingly inevitable spread of nuclear technology to many countries, this seemingly outlandish scheme may not be as far-fetched as it may seem at first thought. I will discuss some preliminary results of studies on the performance of several different array configuration.