June 99
"A Deep Sea Telescope for High Energy Neutrinos"

This document describes our proposal for a  0.1 km^2 detector for  High Energy Neutrino for Astronomy and Particle Physics. It is available as postscript or pdf printable versions, (compressed, gzip files or pdf are far smaller and faster to transfer than uncompressed postscript). There will also be a html browsable version .


The ANTARES Collaboration proposes to construct a large area water Cherenkov  detector in the deep Mediterranean Sea, optimised for the detection of muons from high-energy astrophysical neutrinos. This paper presents the scientific motivation for building such a device, along with a review of the technical issues involved in its design and construction.

The observation of high energy neutrinos will open a new window on the universe. The primary aim of the experiment is to use neutrinos as a tool to study particle acceleration mechanisms in energetic astrophysical objects such as active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts, which mayalso shed light on the origin of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. At somewhat lower energies, non-baryonic dark matter (WIMPs) may be detected through the neutrinos produced when gravitationally captured WIMPs annihilate in the cores of the Earth and the Sun, and neutrino oscillations can be measured by studying distortions in the energy spectrum of upward-going atmospheric neutrinos.

The characteristics of the proposed site are an important consideration in detector design. The paper presents measurements of water transparency, counting rates from bioluminescence and potassium 40, bio-fouling of the optical modules housing the detectorÝs photomultipliers, current speeds and site topography. These tests have shown that the proposed site provides a good-quality environment for the detector, and have also demonstrated the feasibility of the deployment technique.

The present proposal concerns the construction and deployment of a detector with surface area 0.1 km^2. The conceptual design for such a detector is discussed, and the physics performance evaluated for astrophysical sources and for neutrino oscillations. An overview of costs and schedules is presented. It is concluded that a 0.1 km^2 detector is technically feasible at realistic cost, and offers an exciting and varied physics and astrophysics programme. Such a detector will also provide practical experience which will be invaluable in the design and operation of future detectors on the astrophysically desirable 1 km^2 scale.