The MARTA Engineering Array at the Pierre Auger Observatory


  • Call:

    IDPASC Portugal - PHD Programme 2016

  • Academic Year:

    2016 / 2017

  • Domains:

    Experimental Particle Physics | Astroparticle Physics

  • Supervisor:

    Rui Marques

  • Co-Supervisor:

    Pedro Assis

  • Institution:

    Universidade de Coimbra

  • Host Institution:

    Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas

  • Abstract:

    The Pierre Auger has established several important results in the field of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays, such as the strong suppression of the flux compatible with the GZK effect. However, the results pose a new puzzle that can only be understood with more and better information. In fact, Auger has planned an upgrade of its detector based on the installation of scintillator detectors on top of the existing Water Cherenkov Tanks in order to disentangle the electromagnetic and muonic components of air showers. LIP has lead a development that aims at a directly measurement of the muonic component. This program, named MARTA - Muon Array of RPCs for Tagging Air showers -, is set of RPC detectors to be placed underneath the existing Water Cherenkov tank. The tank will act as shielding, removing most of the electromagnetic component, whereas the muons are not attenuated and reach the RPCs. The detector is based on sturdy and low power consumption RPCs developed at LIP-Coimbra, which can be operated in harsh environments such as the Argentinian pampa. MARTA was approved to deploy an engineering array consisting of a unitary cell with 8 stations (an hexagon with a twin in the center). From 2017 the detectors will be installed in the pampa and several tests are to be conducted, among them the cross-calibration with an underground scintillator detector that is alredy installed. The candidate will be involved in the development of the detector and its ancillary instrumentation, including electronics, firmware and software. He/She will also participate in the development of methods to characterize the detectors, pre and post installation, with an emphasis on the performance and stability of the RPCs. Moreover, the candidate will also take part in the commissioning of the MARTA system, paying special attention to the interface with the other detectors of the Pierre Auger Observatory. Being it is first time that RPCs systems are operated in such adverse conditions, it is expected that the successful operation of the MARTA engineering array will provide important data, not just for Auger, but actually paving the way for future RPC based Cosmic Ray detectors.