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High-energy tau neutrinos are rarely produced in atmospheric cosmic-ray showers or at cosmic particle accelerators, but are expected to emerge during neutrino propagation over cosmic distances due to flavor mixing. When high energy tau neutrinos interact inside the IceCube detector, two spatially separated energy depositions may be resolved, the first from the charged current interaction and the second from the tau lepton decay. We report a novel analysis of 7.5 years of IceCube data that identifies two candidate tau neutrinos among the 60 “High-Energy Starting Events” (HESE) collected during that period. The HESE sample offers high purity, all-sky sensitivity, and distinct observational signatures for each neutrino flavor, enabling a new measurement of the flavor composition. The measured astrophysical neutrino flavor composition is consistent with expectations, and an astrophysical tau neutrino flux is indicated at 2.8σ significance.
Bibliografische notaFunding Information:
The IceCube collaboration acknowledges the significant contributions to this manuscript from Carlos Argüelles, Austin Schneider, and Juliana Stachurska. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support from the following agencies and institutions: USA – U.S. National Science Foundation-Office of Polar Programs, U.S. National Science Foundation-Physics Division, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Center for High Throughput Computing (CHTC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Open Science Grid (OSG), Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), Frontera computing project at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, U.S. Department of Energy-National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, Particle astrophysics research computing center at the University of Maryland, Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research at Michigan State University, and Astroparticle physics computational facility at Marquette University; Belgium – Funds for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS and FWO), FWO Odysseus and Big Science programmes, and Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (Belspo); Germany – Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Helmholtz Alliance for Astroparticle Physics (HAP), Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association, Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY), and High Performance Computing cluster of the RWTH Aachen; Sweden – Swedish Research Council, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC), and Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation; Australia – Australian Research Council; Canada – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario, Canada Foundation for Innovation, WestGrid, and Compute Canada; Denmark – Villum Fonden, Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF), Carlsberg Foundation; New Zealand – Marsden Fund; Japan – Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) and Institute for Global Prominent Research (IGPR) of Chiba University; Korea – National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF); Switzerland – Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF); United Kingdom – Department of Physics, University of Oxford.
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