Sensitivity of the IceCube detector to astrophysical sources of high energy muon neutrinos

J. Ahrens, J. N. Bahcall, X. Bai, R. C. Bay, T. Becka, K. H. Becker, D. Berley, E. Bernardini, D. Bertrand, D. Z. Besson, A. Biron, E. Blaufuss, D. J. Boersma, S. Böser, C. Bohm, O. Botner, A. Bouchta, O. Bouhali, T. Burgess, W. CarithersT. Castermans, J. Cavin, W. Chinowsky, D. Chirkin, B. Collin, J. Conrad, J. Cooley, D. F. Cowen, A. Davour, C. de Clercq, T. DeYoung, P. Desiati, R. Ehrlich, R. W. Ellsworth, P. A. Evenson, A. R. Fazely, T. Feser, T. K. Gaisser, J. Gallagher, R. Ganugapati, H. Geenen, A. Goldschmidt, J. A. Goodman, R. M. Gunasingha, A. Hallgren, F. Halzen, K. Hanson, R. Hardtke, T. Hauschildt, D. Hays, K. Helbing, M. Hellwig, P. Herquet, G. C. Hill, D. Hubert, B. Hughey, P. O. Hulth, K. Hultqvist, S. Hundertmark, J. Jacobsen, G. S. Japaridze, A. Jones, A. Karle, H. Kawai, M. Kestel, N. Kitamura, R. Koch, L. Köpke, M. Kowalski, J. I. Lamoureux, H. Leich, M. Leuthold, I. Liubarsky, J. Madsen, H. S. Matis, C. P. McParland, T. Messarius, P. Mészáros, Y. Minaeva, R. H. Minor, P. Miočinović, H. Miyamoto, R. Morse, R. Nahnhauer, T. Neunhöffer, P. Niessen, D. R. Nygren, H. Ögelman, P. Olbrechts, S. Patton, R. Paulos, C. Pérez de los Heros, A. C. Pohl, J. Pretz, P. B. Price, G. T. Przybylski, K. Rawlins, S. Razzaque, E. Resconi, W. Rhode, M. Ribordy, S. Richter, H. G. Sander, K. Schinarakis, S. Schlenstedt, T. Schmidt, D. Schneider, R. Schwarz, D. Seckel, A. J. Smith, M. Solarz, G. M. Spiczak, C. Spiering, M. Stamatikos, T. Stanev, D. Steele, P. Steffen, T. Stezelberger, R. G. Stokstad, K. H. Sulanke, G. W. Sullivan, T. J. Sumner, I. Taboada, S. Tilav, N. van Eijndhoven, W. Wagner, C. Walck, R. R. Wang, C. H. Wiebusch, C. Wiedemann, R. Wischnewski, H. Wissing, K. Woschnagg, S. Yoshida

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384 Scopus citations


We present results of a Monte Carlo study of the sensitivity of the planned IceCube detector to predicted fluxes of muon neutrinos at TeV to PeV energies. A complete simulation of the detector and data analysis is used to study the detector's capability to search for muon neutrinos from potential sources such as active galaxies and gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). We study the effective area and the angular resolution of the detector as a function of muon energy and angle of incidence. We present detailed calculations of the sensitivity of the detector to both diffuse and pointlike neutrino fluxes, including an assessment of the sensitivity to neutrinos detected in coincidence with GRB observations. After three years of data taking, IceCube will be able to detect a point-source flux of Eν2× dNν/dEν=7×10-9 cm-2s-1 GeV at a 5σ significance, or, in the absence of a signal, place a 90% c.l. limit at a level of Eν2×dNν/dEν= 2×10-9 cm-2 s-1 GeV. A diffuse E-2 flux would be detectable at a minimum strength of Eν2×dNν/dEν =10-8 cm-2-1 sr-1 GeV. A GRB model following the formulation of Waxman and Bahcall would result in a 5σ effect after the observation of 200 bursts in coincidence with satellite observations of the gamma rays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-532
Number of pages26
JournalAstroparticle Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the following agencies: National Science Foundation––Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation––Physics Division, University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, USA; Swedish Research Council, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Sweden; German Ministry for Education and Research, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Germany; Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS-FWO), Flanders Institute to encourage scientific and technological research in industry (IWT), Belgian Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural affairs (OSTC), Belgium; Inamori Science Foundation, Japan; FPVI, Venezuela; The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).


  • IceCube
  • Neutrino astronomy
  • Neutrino telescope

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