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Measurement of muon production depths using the AugerPrime detectors

Grant number: 19/15899-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2019
Effective date (End): July 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Astronomy
Principal Investigator:Anderson Campos Fauth
Grantee:Allan Machado Payeras
Home Institution: Instituto de Física Gleb Wataghin (IFGW). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The Pierre Auger Observatory, located in Argentina, studies cosmic rays with energy above 100 PeV. The Observatory consists of an array of 1660 water-Cherenkov detectors, spread in an area of 3000 squared kilometres, and 27 fluorescence telescopes, which detect extensive air showers produced by cosmic rays. Recent results show that more accurate data about the composition of these particles is needed, so that one can accomplish a model which describes precisely the origin and propagation of these particles. In order to reach that goal, the Pierre Auger Observatory is having an upgrade called AugerPrime. Scintillator plates are being installed on top of the 1660 stations. This will allow the separation of the signals due to the muonic and electromagnetic components of air showers. In this project, we will study, via Monte Carlo simulation, a method to reconstruct the longitudinal development of air showers, using the arrival time distribution of muons in the upgraded detectors of the Observatory. We will study the development and efficiency of this method, applied to the data collected by the new detectors, in order to identify the composition of the primary cosmic rays. The results of this research should contribute to elucidate the composition of the high-energy cosmic radiation and, therefore, to the discovery of its origin as well as to its acceleration and propagation mechanisms, which still are open questions in the field of astroparticle physics. (AU)