KM3NeT is a future deep-sea research infrastructure hosting a neutrino telescope with a vclume of several cubic kilmetres, to be constructed in the Mediterranean Sea. In Februray 2006, the Design Study for the infrastructure, funded by the EU FP6 framework, started. The KM3NeT research infrastructure has been singled out by ESFRI (the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) to be included in the European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures. The Preparatory Phase of the infrastructure, funded by the EU FP7 framework, started in March 2008 and was concluded in February 2012. A Collaboration for the implementation of the first phase of the KM3NeT Research Infrastructure is being formed. Since the KM3NeT-RI will offer nodes for connection of instruments for Earth and Sea Sciences, close cooperation with these communities are being regulated.
The neutrino telescope of the KM3NeT-RI
Over the past decade the three pilot projects ANTARES, NEMO and NESTOR have been exploring the technologies, building and deploying smaller scale prototype telescopes designed to operate at depths ranging from 2500 to 4500 m. Since May 30th, 2008 the construction of the Antares telescope has been finished. Antares is now the largest neutrino telescope at the Northern hemispere.
The design, construction and operation of the KM3NeT neutrino telescope will be pursued by a consortium formed around the institutes currently involved in the ANTARES, NESTOR and NEMO pilot projects. Based on the leading expertise of these research groups, the development of the KM3NeT telescope is envisaged to be achieved within a period of about four years for preparatory R&D work, plus four years for construction and deployment.
The Mediterranean Sea appears to be an ideal place for this future installation: it provides water of excellent optical properties at the right depth and excellent shore-based infrastructure for marine operations and on-shore data processing.
With an angular resolution for muon events of better than 0.1 degree for neutrino energies exceeding 10 TeV, an energy threshold of a few 100 GeV and a sensitivity to neutrinos of all flavours and to neutral-current reactions, the KM3NeT neutrino telescope will be unique in the world in its physics sensitivity and will provide access to scientific data that will propel research in different fields, including astronomy, dark matter searches, cosmic ray and high energy physics.