Search for Galactic PeV Gamma Rays with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory

IceCube Collaboration

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Gamma-ray induced air showers are notable for their lack of muons, compared to hadronic showers. Hence, air shower arrays with large underground muon detectors can select a sample greatly enriched in photon showers by rejecting showers containing muons. IceCube is sensitive to muons with energies above ~500 GeV at the surface, which provides an efficient veto system for hadronic air showers with energies above 1 PeV. One year of data from the 40-string IceCube configuration was used to perform a search for point sources and a Galactic diffuse signal. No sources were found, resulting in a 90% C.L. upper limit on the ratio of gamma rays to cosmic rays of 1.2 x 10^(-3)for the flux coming from the Galactic Plane region (-80 deg <l <-30 deg; -10 deg <b <5 deg) in the energy range 1.2 - 6.0 PeV. In the same energy range, point source fluxes with E^(-2) spectra have been excluded at a level of (E/TeV)^2 d\Phi/dE ~ 10^(-12)-10^(-11) cm^2/s/TeV depending on source declination. The complete IceCube detector will have a better sensitivity, due to the larger detector size, improved reconstruction and vetoing techniques. Preliminary data from the nearly-final IceCube detector configuration has been used to estimate the 5 year sensitivity of the full detector. It is found to be more than an order of magnitude better, allowing the search for PeV extensions of known TeV gamma-ray emitters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number062002
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Review D. Particles, Fields, Gravitation, and Cosmology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2013


  • IceCube

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