A Caltech Library Service

Search for GUT magnetic monopoles and other supermassive particles with the MACRO detector


Hong, Jiangtao (1993) Search for GUT magnetic monopoles and other supermassive particles with the MACRO detector. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/j8xq-4a10.


Magnetic monopoles naturally arise in grand unified gauge theories and are believed to carry a mass of ~ 10^(17) GeV/c^2. Strange quark matter (nuclearites) may be the true QCD ground state and its mass could vary from ~ 100 GeV/c^2 to the neutron star mass. Both of them could travel at any velocities from 3.7 x 10^(-5)c to ~ 10^(-2)c. Experimental discovery of either one would have profound implications. This thesis presents a search with the MACRO detector for both of them and any other supermassive particles that are scintillating, slow-moving and highly-penetrating.

The MACRO detector is a large underground detector located at Gran Sasso, Italy, with the primary goal of searching for magnetic monopoles at a flux level beyond the astrophysical Parker bound. It employs liquid scintillator counters, streamer tubes and track-etch detectors. When completed, it will have an acceptance of 10,000 m^2sr.

This search is conducted with the large liquid scintillator detector in the first supermodule of the MACRO detector, which has an acceptance of 870 m^2sr. A specialized slow monopole trigger is based on the time of passage of slow particles through each scintillator counter and enables the detection of supermassive particles with velocities as low as ~ 10^(-4)c. A second trigger is based on the time of flight between different scintillator layers and covers relatively fast velocity range up to 2 x 10^(-2)c. The scintillator waveforms are recorded for both triggers. Both triggers collected data over a period of two years from October 1989 to November 1991. The data were analyzed to search for slow particles. The absence of candidates establishes an upper limit on the flux of supermassive particles at 8.7 x 10^(-15) cm^(-2)sr^(-1)sec^(-1) for 3 x 10^(-3) < β < 2 X 10^(-2) and at 5.6 x 10 ^(-15)cm^(-2)sr^(-1)sec^(-1) for β_0 < β < 3 x 10^(-3). The low velocity cutoff β_0 depends on the type of supermassive particles. For magnetic monopoles, the cutoff based on the Ficenec et al. slow proton scintillation measurement is β_0 = 1.8 x 10^(-4) , and the pessimistic cutoff based on the most conservative Ahlen-Tarle light yield model is β_0 = 7 x 10^(-4). For dyons or monopoleproton composites, the model independent cutoff is β_0 = 9 x 10^(-5). Bracci et al. have argued that most likely bare monopoles have bound protons in the early universe, making this dyon search more significant. The application of this flux limit to other supermassiveparticles including nuclearites is described in Chapter 5.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Barish, Barry C. (advisor)
  • Peck, Charles W. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:22 February 1993
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:12122012-144727492
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7332
Deposited On:13 Dec 2012 16:06
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page