Isaac Myers Thesis Defense 3/27/15

Thesis Defense

Isaac Myers

Friday, March 27, 2015
4:00PM (110 INSCC)

Title: Radar Detection of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays

TARA (Telescope Array Radar) is a cosmic ray radar detection experiment co-located with Telescope Array, the conventional surface scintillation detector (SD) and fluorescence telescope detector (FD) near Delta, UT. The TARA detector combines a 40 kW transmitter and high gain transmitting antenna which broadcasts the radar carrier over the SD array and in the FD field of view to a 250 MS/s DAQ receiver. Data collection began in August, 2013. TARA stands apart from other cosmic ray radar experiments in that radar data is directly compared with conventional cosmic ray detector events. The transmitter is also directly controlled by TARA researchers.

Waveforms from the FD-triggered data stream are time-matched with TA events and searched for signal using a novel signal search technique in which the expected (simulated) radar echo of a particular air shower is used as a matched filter template and compared to radio waveforms. This technique is used to calculate the radar cross-section (RCS) upper-limit on triggers that correspond to reconstructed TA FD monocular events. Our lowest cosmic ray RCS upper-limit is 42 cm^2 for an 11 EeV event.

An introduction to cosmic rays is presented with the evolution of detection and the necessity of new detection techniques, of which radar detection is a candidate. The software simulation of radar scattering from cosmic rays follows. The TARA detector, including transmitter and receiver systems, are discussed in detail. Our search algorithm and methodology for calculating RCS is presented for the purpose of being repeatable. Search results are explained in context of the usefulness and future of cosmic ray radar detection.

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