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KM3NeT

KM3NeT

KM3NeT is a large Research Infrastructure that will consist of a network of deep-sea neutrino telescopes. Once completed, it will have a detector volume of several cubic kilometres of clear sea-water. Located in the deepest seas of the Mediterranean, KM3NeT will open a new window on our Universe. It will search for neutrinos from distant and powerful astrophysical sources such as supernovae, gamma ray bursters or colliding stars. It will also address the issue of the neutrino mass hierarchy by studying the matter effects on the oscillation of atmospheric neutrinos. Thanks to its location in the Northern Hemisphere it will provide a complementary field of view of the sky with respect to IceCube, including the Galactic Center and the region of the galactic plane.
The neutrino telescope will consist of an array of thousands of optical sensors to detect the faint light produced by charged particles originating from interactions of the neutrinos with the sea water. The facility will also house instrumentation for Earth and Sea sciences for long term and on-line monitoring of the deep sea environment and the sea bottom at depth of several kilometers.

The basic unit of the neutrino telescope is a light sensor called Digital Optical Module (DOM). This is transparent glass sphere, capable to withstand the enormous pressure of the sea abysses, containing at its interior 31 small-size photomultipliers. The electronics needed to power up the photomultipliers, to digitize their signals and to transmit the digitized data to shore is also included inside the sphere. Eighteen DOMs are suspended to a slender vertical structure, called Detection Unit (DU). The DU is anchored on the seabed and kept taut by a buoy on the top. Detection units are distributed on the seafloor and connected to a network of electro-optical cables and junction boxes that constitutes the physical layer allowing the distribution of the power to each detection unit and the transmission of data to shore.

KM3NeT will be a distributed infrastructure with two deep-sea nodes: one located in Italy, 80 km South East of Capo Passero at a depth of 3500 m, and one in France, 40 km South of Toulon at a depth of 2500 m.
The Italian node will be specialized for high-energy neutrino astronomy hosting the ARCA (Astroparticle Research with Cosmics in the Abyss) detector. The ARCA detection units will be about 700 m high with DOMs vertically spaced by 36 m. The detection units will be arranged in two blocks of 115 DUs each with an inter-DU distance of about 100 m giving a total instrumented volume of about 1 km3.
The French node will host a compact neutrino detector aimed at the study of the Neutrino Mass Hierarchy (ORCA, Oscillation Research with Cosmics in the Abyss). In this case DOMs will be spaced along the DU by 9 m and the DUs will be separated each other by about 20 m giving a total instrumented volume of about 5 MTons.

After a prototyping and validation phase, KM3NeT has recently entered the construction stage. The intrinsically modular nature of the detector allows for a staged implementation with increasing size from about 0.1 km3 for high-energy astronomy (phase-1) to a volume of several km3 in the final phase.
With 24 DU and 8 tower-like structures, phase-1 will be already the largest neutrino detector in the Northern Hemisphere.

KM3NeT is a European collaboration of more than 250 researchers encompassing about 40 Institutes from 11 countries. Ten INFN departments and laboratories are involved. KM3NeT has been recognized by the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) as one of the Research Infrastructures of pan-european interest. It appeared on the ESFRI roadmap since 2006.

LNS is the reference laboratory for the KM3NeT-ARCA node. We manage the shore laboratory, located in Portopalo di Capo Passero, where the on-shore equipment (power feeding system, data acquisition system, detector control) is located. This shore station is connected via a high bandwidth fiber optic link to LNS.

More information is available on the KM3NeT web site.

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