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Measurement of the Galactic Cosmic Ray Antiproton Flux from 0.25 GeV to 3.11 GeV with the Isotope Matter Antimatter Experiment (IMAX)


Labrador, Allan Wayne (1997) Measurement of the Galactic Cosmic Ray Antiproton Flux from 0.25 GeV to 3.11 GeV with the Isotope Matter Antimatter Experiment (IMAX). Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/92WC-0T91.


The intensities and relative abundances of galactic cosmic ray protons and antiprotons have been measured with the Isotope Matter Antimatter Experiment (IMAX), a balloon-borne magnet spectrometer. The IMAX payload had a successful flight from Lynn Lake, Manitoba, Canada on July 16, 1992. Particles detected by IMAX were identified by mass and charge via the Cherenkov-Rigidity and TOP-Rigidity techniques, with measured rms mass resolution ≤0.2 amu for Z=1 particles.

Cosmic ray antiprotons are of interest because they can be produced by the interactions of high energy protons and heavier nuclei with the interstellar medium as well as by more exotic sources. Previous cosmic ray antiproton experiments have reported an excess of antiprotons over that expected solely from cosmic ray interactions.

Analysis of the flight data has yielded 124405 protons and 3 antiprotons in the energy range 0.19-0.97 GeV at the instrument, 140617 protons and 8 antiprotons in the energy range 0.97-2.58 GeV, and 22524 protons and 5 antiprotons in the energy range 2.58-3.08 GeV. These measurements are a statistical improvement over previous antiproton measurements, and they demonstrate improved separation of antiprotons from the more abundant fluxes of protons, electrons, and other cosmic ray species.

When these results are corrected for instrumental and atmospheric background and losses, the ratios at the top of the atmosphere are p̅/p=3.21(+3.49, -1.97)x10⁻⁵ in the energy range 0.25-1.00 GeV, p̅/p=5.38(+3.48, -2.45)x10⁻⁵ in the energy range 1.00-2.61 GeV, and p̅/p=2.05(+1.79, -1.15)x10⁻⁴ in the energy range 2.61-3.11 GeV. The corresponding antiproton intensities, also corrected to the top of the atmosphere, are 2.3(+2.5, -1.4) x10⁻² (m² s sr GeV)⁻¹, 2.1(+1.4, -1.0)x10⁻² (m² s sr GeV)⁻¹, and 4.3(+3.7, -2.4) x10⁻² (m² s sr GeV)⁻¹ for the same energy ranges.

The IMAX antiproton fluxes and antiproton/proton ratios are compared with recent Standard Leaky Box Model (SLBM) calculations of the cosmic ray antiproton abundance. According to this model, cosmic ray antiprotons are secondary cosmic rays arising solely from the interaction of high energy cosmic rays with the interstellar medium. The effects of solar modulation of protons and antiprotons are also calculated, showing that the antiproton/proton ratio can vary by as much as an order of magnitude over the solar cycle. When solar modulation is taken into account, the IMAX antiproton measurements are found to be consistent with the most recent calculations of the SLBM. No evidence is found in the IMAX data for excess antiprotons arising from the decay of galactic dark matter, which had been suggested as an interpretation of earlier measurements. Furthermore, the consistency of the current results with the SLBM calculations suggests that the mean antiproton lifetime is at least as large as the cosmic ray storage time in the galaxy (~10⁷ yr, based on measurements of cosmic ray ¹⁰Be). Recent measurements by two other experiments are consistent with this interpretation of the IMAX antiproton results.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Cosmic Rays, Antiprotons, Antimatter, Experiment
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Prince, Thomas A. (advisor)
  • Mewaldt, Richard (advisor)
  • Stone, Edward C. (advisor)
Group:Astronomy Department, Space Radiation Laboratory
Thesis Committee:
  • Prince, Thomas A. (chair)
  • Goldreich, Peter Martin
  • Mewaldt, Richard A.
  • Newman, Harvey B.
  • Stone, Edward C.
Defense Date:3 September 1996
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:09292014-084326709
Persistent URL:
Labrador, Allan Wayne0000-0001-9178-5349
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8666
Deposited On:29 Sep 2014 17:26
Last Modified:15 Feb 2023 20:15

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