The MIDAS experiment: A prototype for the microwave emission of Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics – High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

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To appear in the proceedings of 12th Topical Seminar on Innovative Particle and Radiation Detectors (IPRD10), Siena, Italy, 7

Scientific paper

Recent measurements suggest that extensive air showers initiated by ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECR) emit signals in the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum caused by the collisions of the free-electrons with the atmospheric neutral molecules in the plasma produced by the passage of the shower. Such emission is isotropic and could allow the detection of air showers with 100% duty cycle and a calorimetric-like energy measurement, a significant improvement over current detection techniques. We have built MIDAS (MIcrowave Detection of Air Showers), a prototype of microwave detector, which consists of a 4.5 m diameter antenna with a cluster of 53 feed-horns in the 4 GHz range. The details of the prototype and first results will be presented.

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