The KM3NeT/ARCA detector operates with 6 Detection Units

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25 May 2021

The underwater neutrino telescope KM3NeT/ARCA is being installed 80 kms. east of Capo Passero in Sicily. It is designed to detect high energy neutrinos of astrophysical origin.  When completed, it will consist of more than 200 Detection Units (DU), each more than 700 meters long, deployed vertically from the sea bottom. Each of them consists of 18 Digital Optical Modules (DOMs), able to detect the extremely faint light emitted during the neutrino interactions with water. The DUs are connected to shore with electro-optical cables for power transmission, data transfer and control.

In the period 8-14 April, a critical sea operation was performed, during which, 5 DUs and a junction box were deployed successfully. The construction of the DUs and the sea operation were completed during the COVID pandemic and presented a real challenge for the KM3NeT collaboration. The restrictions in travel, physical presence in the laboratories and the production of scientific instrumentation in several countries made an already complicated endeavor, even more difficult.

The KM3NeT Collaboration is celebrating the operation of the neutrino telescope with 12 DUs (6 for ARCA and 6 for ORCA), reaching the sensitivity of its predecessor detector ANTARES.

The contribution of the Astroparticle Physics group of the INPP, NCSR “Demokritos” to KM3NeT is significant and diverse, ranging from the construction and testing of the DOMs, testing of critical components, data analysis, QA/QC coordination for the whole experiment, leading roles in several committees and participation in the KM3NeT management. It is worth mentioning that 35 out of the 90 DOMs used in the 5 newly deployed DUs were constructed and tested in INPP.

The 5 DUs arranged on the ship deck, ready to be deployed. Each DU is wrapped around a spherical shell for the deployment.



Deployment of the junction box. During the sea operation work continued on a 24 hour basis.