Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy
Polarization Angle Dependence of Vertically Propagating Radio-Frequency Signals in South Polar Ice
Date of this Version
Published (2023) Astroparticle Physics, 144, art. no. 102766.
To better understand the effect of ice properties on the science reach of radio experiments designed to measure ultrahigh energy neutrinos (UHEN), we recently considered the timing and amplitude characteristics of radio-frequency (RF) signals propagating along multi-kilometer, primarily horizontal trajectories through cold Polar ice at the South Pole. That analysis indicated satisfactory agreement with a model of ice birefringence based on ice crystal (ĉ-axis) data culled from the South Pole Ice Core Experiment (SPICE). Here we explore the geometrically complementary case of signals propagating along primarily vertical trajectories, using extant data from the Askaryan Radio Array (ARA) experiment, supplemented by a refined analysis of older RICE experimental data. The timing characteristics of the South Polar data are in general agreement with the same birefringence model, although a several nanosecond discrepancy is found in comparison to Taylor Dome data. Re-analysis of older RICE data also confirm the correlation of signal amplitudes reflected from internal-layers with the direction of ice flow, similar to previous observations made along a traverse from Dome Fuji to the Antarctic coast. These results have two important implications for radio-based UHEN experiments: i) if birefringence can be locally calibrated, the timing characteristics of signals propagating from neutrino-ice interactions to a distant receiver might be used to infer the distance-to-vertex, which is necessary to estimate the energy of the progenitor neutrino, ii) the measured reflectivity of internal layers may result in previously-unanticipated backgrounds to UHEN searches, requiring significantly more modeling and analysis.
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