Enhanced Searches with the Pierre Auger Observatory in the Era of Multi-messenger Astrophysics


  • Call:

    PT-CERN Call 2021/2

  • Academic Year:


  • Domain:

    Astroparticle Physics

  • Supervisor:

    Raul Sarmento

  • Co-Supervisor:

    Ruben Conceição

  • Institution:

    Universidade do Minho

  • Host Institution:

    Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas

  • Abstract:

    The discovery of ultra-high energy (UHE) neutral particles, whose production is expected by cosmic-ray interactions at the source environment, would allow the identification of the astrophysical sources of UHE cosmic rays and unveil many of the mysteries surrounding their production and propagation. The Pierre Auger Observatory, the world's largest experiment in the study of the highest-energy astroparticles, is being upgraded with new detector technologies to reduce its current systematic uncertainties and accurately determine the mass composition of UHE cosmic rays. This work proposes to investigate how to use the new tools, focusing on a sub-array of surface detectors upgraded with resistive-plate chambers (MARTA) to enhance the observatory's searches for photons. In particular, it will bring Auger to the study of the mysterious sources of fast radio bursts (FRB), by addressing their connection to the emission of high-energy photons. Targeting the recent low-energy extension of the observatory, air-shower phenomenology studies and dedicated data analyses will be developed to perform the measurement of the shower muonic component and access new information near the shower core. Following an assessment of the impact on the overall event reconstruction and photon-hadron discrimination, the findings will be applied to the development of the first search for photons with energies above 10 PeV in association with FRB.