Search for cosmic point sources of high energy neutrinos with the AMANDA-II detector
We describe the search for astrophysical sources of high energy neutrinos with the AMANDA-II detector. This detector allows for reconstruction of neutrino induced muon tracks by the Cherenkov radiation emitted by relativistic muons. We analyze the AMANDA-II data recorded in the year 2000 with a lifetime of 197 days. A large fraction of the background of atmospheric muons can be suppressed by the selection of events reconstructed as upward moving tracks. We develop further quality criteria, which lead to the extraction of a sample of 699 neutrino event candidates, dominated by atmospheric neutrinos. We analyze this data sample in view of significant contributions from neutrino point sources, which would be observable as enhancements of the event density from certain directions. We have not found a significant indication of the existence of astrophysical high energy neutrino sources, neither by the investigation of source candidates (e.g. Active Galactic Nuclei, microquasars, or supernova remnants), nor by a binned search in the complete Northern sky, nor by the investigation of angular distances between pairs of reconstructed event directions. Assuming power-law neutrino spectra dN/dE ~ E^(-2), we calculate limits on the neutrino fluxes and the neutrino induced muons fluxes from a list of selected neutrino source candidates. The sensitivity of the AMANDA-II detector, i.e. the average neutrino and muon flux limits, amounts to E^2 dN(neutrinos)/dE = 2*10^(-7) GeV cm^(-2) s^(-1) and N(muons) = 2*10^(-15) cm^(-2) s^(-1), respectively. These are currently the best limits on neutrino fluxes from astrophysical objects in the Northern hemisphere.
School:Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:10/15/2004