A new laboratory of neutrino astrophysics has been created at Irkutsk State University at the Research Institute of Applied Physics. It was organized in order to fulfill the requirements of the agreement signed at the end of 2022 by the ISU with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation to fulfill the state task, within the framework of which physicists will receive 54 million rubles within three years.
Recall that the state task was issued by the Ministry for the project "Registration of neutrinos in the framework of the Baikal Neutrino Project". It should be noted that the ISU Institute of Applied Physics is a key participant in the international collaboration implementing the project for the construction of the Baikal-GVD neutrino telescope on Lake Baikal. This project belongs to the category of mega-science.
Andrey Tanaev, Director of the ISU Institute of Applied Physics:
"The main task of the laboratory will be to study super-powerful astrophysical sources and natural mechanisms of particle acceleration to ultrahigh energies by registering neutrinos using the Baikal-GVD installation. The University has been involved in the creation of this neutrino telescope for many years, but our special area of responsibility is the study of the telescope's environment, its working body, which is the water of Lake Baikal. We are actively expanding our presence in the project, reaching new horizons and aiming to participate in the promising federal neutrino program"
13 ISU representatives, including fourth-year students of the Faculty of Physics, became employees of the new laboratory. Besides them, scientists from Moscow and Dubna (from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research) joined the staff. Today the total number of employees of the laboratory is 18 people.
Right now the preparations are underway for the next ice expedition, during which it is planned to install 11th and 12th clusters of the neutrino telescope. Each of the clusters consists of 288 optical modules connected in eight strings and submerged at the bottom of the lake. The process of installation and subsequent immersion in Lake Baikal will take place after the formation of ice, according to preliminary calculations – at the end of February 2023.
The design work of a neutrino telescope on Lake Baikal with a volume of about a cubic kilometer, called Baikal-GVD, began in 2010-2011. In March 2021, the launch of the eighth cluster was carried out personally by the Minister of Science and Higher Education of Russia Valery Falkov. At the end of 2021, the neutrino telescope registered a high-energy neutrino from the active core of one of the distant galaxies. A few hours before this event, another neutrino detector, IceCube, located in Antarctica, also registered an astrophysical neutrino coming from the same direction.