Measurement of the real dielectric permittivity ϵ r of glacial ice

P. Allison, S. Archambault, J. Auffenberg, R. Bard, J. J. Beatty, M. Beheler-Amass, D. Z. Besson*, M. Beydler, C. C. Chen, C. H. Chen, P. Chen, A. Christenson, B. A. Clark, A. Connolly, L. Cremonesi, C. Deaconu, M. Duvernois, L. Friedman, R. Gaior, J. HansonK. Hanson, J. Haugen, K. D. Hoffman, E. Hong, S. Y. Hsu, L. Hu, J. J. Huang, M. H.A. Huang, A. Ishihara, A. Karle, J. L. Kelley, R. Khandelwal, M. C. Kim, I. Kravchenko, J. Kruse, K. Kurusu, T. Kuwabara, H. Landsman, U. A. Latif, A. Laundrie, C. J. Li, T. C. Liu, M. Y. Lu, K. Mase, T. Meures, J. Nam, R. J. Nichol, G. Nir, A. Novikov, E. Oberla, A. O’ Murchadha, Y. Pan, C. Pfendner, K. Ratzlaff, M. Relich, J. Roth, P. Sandstrom, D. Seckel, Y. S. Shiao, A. Shultz, M. Song, J. Touart, G. S. Varner, A. Vieregg, M. Z. Wang, S. H. Wang, S. Wissel, S. Yoshida, R. Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Owing to their small interaction cross-section, neutrinos are unparalleled astronomical tracers. Ultra-high energy (UHE; E > 10 PeV) neutrinos probe the most distant, most explosive sources in the Universe, often obscured to optical telescopes. Radio-frequency (RF) detection of Askaryan radiation in cold polar ice is currently regarded as the best experimental measurement technique for UHE neutrinos, provided the RF properties of the ice target can be well-understood. To that end, the Askaryan Radio Array (ARA) experiment at the South Pole has used long-baseline RF propagation to extract information on the index-of-refraction (n=ϵ r ) in South Polar ice. Owing to the increasing ice density over the upper 150–200 m, rays are measured along two, nearly parallel paths, one of which refracts through an inflection point, with differences in both arrival time and arrival angle that can be used to constrain the neutrino properties. We also observe (first) indications for RF ice birefringence for signals propagating along predominantly horizontal trajectories, corresponding to an asymmetry of order 0.1% between the ordinary and extra-ordinary birefringent axes, numerically compatible with previous measurements of birefringent asymmetries for vertically-propagating radio-frequency signals at South Pole. Qualitatively, these effects offer the possibility of redundantly measuring the range from receiver to a neutrino interaction in Antarctic ice, if receiver antennas are deployed at shallow (z ∼ −25 m) depths. Such range information is essential in determining both the neutrino energy, as well as the incident neutrino direction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages11
JournalAstroparticle Physics
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Glaciology
  • Neutrinos
  • Radio-frequency


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